Premier League's plans for new offside system affected by Nike deal

Premier League’s plans to introduce an automatic offside system affected by their contract with Nike – as the footballs are yet to be tested with the new VAR technology

    The Premier League’s introduction of an automatic offside system has been affected by their contract with ball supplier Nike, whose products have yet to be extensively trialled with the new technology.

    Mail Sport has learned that the software which enabled automatic offsides to be used for the first time at last year’s World Cup was created by a collaboration between German analytics company Kinexon and FIFA’s official ball supplier Adidas, who also have a deal with UEFA to supply the Champions League ball.

    The Premier League have a long-standing contract with Nike, although sources insist this will not be an issue moving forward as alternative technologies have been developed which do not require a sensor to be placed in the ball, as was the case with the Adidas Al Rihla at the World Cup. 

    Mail Sport has been told that the possibility of introducing automated offsides without inserting a sensor in the Nike ball was discussed by the clubs last year, but not taken forward. There was no vote on the issue at the Premier League’s AGM last summer.

    The Premier League are understood to be working with several technology companies over developing a similar automated system which does not feature a chip in the ball. 

    The Premier League’s plans to introduce automatic offside systems have been affected by their contract with Nike

    It comes as VAR technology has been at the heart of much controversy this weekend after Liverpool had a goal disallowed wrongfully in their 2-1 defeat by Tottenham 

    The technology used by UEFA in the Champions League and Europa League does not involve putting a sensor in the ball either, despite the fact that they also have a contract with Adidas.

    While the Premier League are making progress there will be no move to introduce the new system midway through the current campaign despite the VAR debacle in Tottenham’s 2-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday night, when the visitors had a Luis Diaz goal incorrectly ruled out for offside which Darren England failed to overturn on review. 

    In contrast, Serie A became the first domestic league to introduce an automated system halfway through last season, although the Italian version did not feature a chip in the Puma ball.

    The Premier League will end their 25-year partnership with Nike for a new deal with Puma at the start of the 2025-26 season, although by that stage it is anticipated that ball-tracking technology will be more widely available across all manufacturers.

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    The Premier League will end their 25-year deal with Nike, partnering up with Puma for the 2025-26 season

    Liverpool made a formal request to receive the VAR audio from the decision to disallow Luis Diaz’s goal for offside against Tottenham 

    The Reds – led by Jurgen Klopp – were incensed after the controversial game and vowed to explore options available to them

    The automated system used by FIFA and UEFA removes the need for VARs to draw lines manually on their screen, with the graphics showing if a player is onside or offside then passed on to the referee, which sources who have used it claim improves accuracy and reducing delays. 

    The final decision still rests with match officials however, as the referee must determine who is interfering with play.

    The technology used at the World Cup is based on around a dozen cameras in the stadium collecting information from 29 data points on a player’s body 50 times every second. 

    In addition, a sensor in the middle of the ball, which produces 500 readings per second, detects precisely when contact has been made.


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