From robot VARs to air-cooling: nine things to look out for at Qatar 2022

A look at some of the unusual, innovative and less palatable features of the coming World Cup1) Robot offsidesIt’s a new chapter in VAR’s “undisputable success story”, says Fifa: 12 roof-level limb-tracking cameras plus an in-ball sensor. When the data hits, a robot draws toenail lines for the VAR; the VAR checks them, tells the referee and sends a 3D model to broadcasters. Fifa says it will cut the average 70-second wait before a goal can be celebrated down to “just 25 seconds” – and anyone who says it’s sucking the life out of football is wrong: “We are very proud of this work.” Also new this winter: a chance to see more than half a starting XI subbed off in a game – five subs in normal time and another in extra time – while benches will expand to 15 players, up from 12.

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