Smart ball technology to assist referees at the World Under-20 event

Smart ball technology to assist referees at the World Under-20 event

LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) – New smart ball technology will be trialled at next month’s U20 Rugby World Cup to help officials decide on tries, ball contact, lineout and forward passes.

World Rugby is working with analytics firm Sportable and equipment manufacturer Gilbert at the event in South Africa to “explore how the emergence of new technology and artificial intelligence can help shape the future of sport, aid the flow of the game and take the fan experience to the next level.”

The idea behind the new ball tracking system is to help officials make accurate decisions faster and deal with a number of common but challenging aspects of the law.

The smart ball is tracked in 3D and in real time with beacons placed around the pitch to determine its exact position up to 20 times per second and provide instant feedback on every kick, pass and throw.

A live feed will be made available to TV match officials who will be able to use the information to provide feedback to the referee.

World Rugby says the smart ball is already successfully providing data to help with broadcasts and digital experiences, but that recent tests have also demonstrated its potential to help with officiating.

World Rugby Director of Rugby Phil Davies said: “A fast game is a good game and it is right that we are exploring technology that has the potential to help the flow of the game, reduce stoppage time and speed up match official decision-making. .

“Rugby refereeing is perhaps the most difficult refereeing job in sport. There are multiple decisions or non-decisions being made at any given time, and the advancement of broadcast and social media means that such decisions are poured over long after the event.

“The development of smart ball technology opens the door to helping match referees make accurate decisions faster, removing subjectivity and reducing the risk of error. Although this is experimental and the technology is new, we are excited about its potential and look forward to see it in action.”

Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ken Ferris

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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