Semi-automated offside technology will be introduced to Serie A next month, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced on Monday as the country’s refereeing association searches for a new president following a drugs scandal.
In a statement FIGC said that the technology, developed by global governing body FIFA and used at the World Cup, will be used from the 20th round of matches on the last weekend of January after consultations with domestic refereeing association AIA.
Those fixtures, which include Serie A leaders Napoli hosting fierce rivals Roma, mark the second half of a league campaign which gets underway again in early January following the World Cup and winter break.
The technology was trialled at February’s FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi and last year’s Arab Cup before being used at the World Cup in Qatar and the group stage of this season’s Champions League.
It utilises both dedicated and broadcast cameras around the stadium to give the exact position of players on the pitch, offering match officials precise information within seconds.
The optical tracking system has the aim of making offside calls faster and more accurate.
Offside decisions have continued to cause controversy in the VAR era in Italy, with one particularly strange case penalising Juventus against Salernitana back in September.
A VAR review led to Arkadiusz Milik’s header deep in stoppage time, which would have given Juve a 3-2 win, being ruled out for Leonardo Bonucci being offside and interfering with play.
Footage revealed later showed that Salernitana’s Antonio Candreva had kept everyone onside but as he was stood by the corner flag he was not spotted by the VAR officials.
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The decision caused outrage not just at Juve but among football fans and pundits all over Italy, incredulous as to how the decision could have been gotten wrong with so many cameras in place at the Allianz Stadium.
AIA said at the time that the VAR officials did not have access to cameras which would have shown that Milik’s goal should have stood.
The announcement was made after Monday’s FIGC board meeting in which president Gabriel Gravina also said elections for a new head of AIA would take place within 90 days following Alfredo Trentalange’s resignation on Sunday.
Trentalange stepped down under pressure from Gravina, who had threatened to put AIA under administration if he did not relinquish his post, following the arrest of the body’s chief prosecutor for his alleged involvement in an international drug trafficking ring.
Rosario D’Onofrio was among dozens of people to be arrested in November, after which AIA said that D’Onofrio hid from them that he had been under house arrest for previous drugs offences when he applied to be promoted to prosecutor.
The FIGC said on Monday that their own investigations revealed that when D’Onofrio was named prosecutor in early 2021 he was under house arrest, and that between September last year and this September “he was not once authorised to leave his home”.
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