The International Football Association Board (IFAB) held a meeting yesterday, where they agreed to implement improvements to the offside rule. AI isn’t the only solution being considered for making the game more accurate – and more popular.

IFAB also met to discuss potential changes to ‘breadth of play’. According to FIFA, this proposal was inspired by the mixed martial arts game ‘MMA’.

The UFC uses a rectangular ‘drag-and-drop’ system where the player isn’t allowed to change the distance of an opponent’s attack. The rules force players to react quickly if they’re down, or potentially get hurt. FIFA has already looked into it for offside calls, and the idea is being welcomed by referees.

The proposal will be submitted to FIFA for further review in April, and a final decision on the ideas will be made in June. The new rules are expected to be implemented by 2022 – which is a big ask considering that we’re already in the middle of the World Cup.

Another interesting development is that the IFAB is planning to look into player ratings for women’s football games. Any prediction for a player’s performance in a match is strictly restricted to the verdict of 11 players, which makes the task a lot more difficult. However, the World Cup currently only has a men’s match rating system, making it difficult for female players to be evaluated more closely.

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FIFA hopes to test a new rating system for the World Cup in 2022, and wants feedback from FIFA head Gianni Infantino, coaches, referees, coaches and players. We’ll be watching.

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