Virtual offside line technology will not be implemented in MLS for the time being, as the league is holding off on its use for logistical reasons.
MLS has rolled out video assistant referee (VAR) with some success in the past, but it has not incorporated virtual offside line technology into its matches. Testing was conducted on the technology behind the scenes last season, which revealed some red flags that have prompted the decision to not move forward with a full roll out.
The apparent issue relates to the broadcast cameras available for most MLS matches, as officials do not believe that they are extensive enough–in terms of both quantity and positioning–to effectively implement the technology. It remains to be seen if that situation evolves to the point where decision makers feel comfortable with an eventual implementation of virtual offside line technology in MLS, but the current situation on broadcast cameras does not make an immediate rollout feasible. More from the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Howard Webb, general manager of the Professional Referees Organization — which oversees officials in MLS, the NWSL and the second-tier USL — confirmed the decision to The Inquirer. He said the technology was tested behind the scenes in MLS last year but didn’t work right because games here don’t have enough TV cameras.
“The provision of broadcast cameras, in terms of numbers and position, is not yet as extensive in some MLS games as it is in some other leagues, and as such it was difficult to place the virtual offside lines with accuracy in certain situations,” Webb said, which makes “the use of the technology not consistently viable.”
Virtual offside line technology has been implemented in the English Premier League. Its use there has not come without controversy, with many contending that it has too often been used to overturn goals because of marginal offenses rather than identify obvious cases.