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Premier League To Trial ‘Robot Referees’ At Manchester United And Liverpool Next Season

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Premier League To Trial ‘Robot Referees’ At Manchester United And Liverpool Next Season

The Premier League is set to trial so-called 'robot-refs' in four grounds next season with a view to FIFA eventually overseeing a global rollout of the system.

For those of you hoping to see a metallic, automated 'Mike Dean 4,000' patrolling Old Trafford next season, we have some mildly disappointing news. These are very much robotic VAR refs rather than the on-pitch variety.

The new, Hawk-Eye developed system uses skeletal technology to track movement and can therefore deliver near-instant offside decisions as opposed to VAR's unloved lines across the pitch.

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The system will be trialled at the grounds of England's four Champions League-qualified clubs - Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea - next season, according to a report in Sun Sport (although it will be strictly in live trials, rather than actually used for match-day decisions).

Developed by Hawk-Eye, the company responsible for goalline technology, FIFA apparently want an operational system in place for the 2022 winter World Cup in Qatar.

The tech tracks 29 points on a player's body and can give on-field officials offside information within half a second. One secret test at an unnamed Premier League ground last season apparently yielded "extremely promising" results.

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Now it will be tested at the Etihad, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and Anfield (where offsides mean more?) with a view to eventually replacing the current, often lengthy, VAR review process.

Hawk-Eye apparently used the system in "non-live trials" during FIFA's Club World Cup in January and were happy with the results.

We personally cannot wait until an automated robo-official is alerting Michael Oliver that Timo Werner's hip bone is offside from 2022 onwards. The beautiful game!

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Imagery: PA Images

Topics: Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Premier League, VAR

Alex Reid
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