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AI Automated Camera Backfires On Scottish Soccer Club as Technology Mistakes Referee’s Head for Soccer Ball

Published 05/13/2023, 1:15 PM EDT

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In recent years, technology has grown at a fast pace, and it continues to evolve over time. Today, it comes into use in every aspect of our lives, as the entire world is now dependent on it. One of the latest inventions that has taken the world by storm is artificial intelligence. It has been slowly creeping into various aspects of our lives, including soccer.

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From scouting and analyzing players to making game-changing refereeing decisions, AI is becoming a valuable tool in soccer. Just like the whole world is implementing the technology in its daily use, a Scottish-based soccer club also joined the wave of AI in 2020. The club put AI to use, however, that didn’t end well for them.

AI camera backfires on Scottish club


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One of the areas where AI has been making an impact on soccer is through the use of cameras. Forget the modern cameras, as an AI camera comes with built-in ball-tracking technology. The same technology was implemented by the Scottish side Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC. They switched from human camera operators to AI-controlled cameras to capture HD footage of all home matches at Caledonian Stadium.

The decision came following the pandemic surge, as soccer fans had to watch matches behind closed doors. This led the Scottish side to put AI on broadcast duty. However, their decision backfired quickly, as it caused some glitches that left the whole soccer world in hysterics and some in frustration as well.


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During the live broadcast of a match, the AI camera appeared to mistake the linesman’s bald head for the ball, repeatedly following him instead of the actual game. This left fans boiling as they complained about missing important moments of the match because the camera was focused on the linesman’s head.

The glitch was not lost on social media users, who quickly took to the internet to make jokes about the incident. Some suggested that the club should provide the linesman with a hat or toupee. This way, it will help the camera distinguish between his head and the ball. While AI has the potential to enhance the viewing experience for fans, it still requires some adjustments to ensure accurate and reliable performance. Yet it brings up a valid question: is it too early to introduce AI in soccer?

Is it too early to utilize AI in soccer?


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While the use of AI in soccer has great potential to revolutionize the game, there are also concerns about its impact. Some critics argue that the use of AI can dehumanize the sport. As decisions that were once made by human coaches and players are increasingly made by machines.

On the other hand, the use of AI in officiating can help reduce errors and ensure fair play. The implementation of VAR has helped referees make more accurate decisions by reviewing controversial plays on screens. Many also argue that it takes the human element out of the game. In fact, relying too heavily on technology can detract from the excitement and unpredictability of the sport.


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Either way, it is a very extensive debate that can go on for hours. It is important for apex organizations to carefully examine the impact and implementation of AI in a safe manner. Nevertheless, what are your thoughts on AI and soccer? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by:

Abhishek Mishra


One take at a time

Abhishek Mishra is a soccer writer at EssentiallySports. Abhishek's love for soccer began during his childhood days when he spent most of his time playing and watching the sport. His early exposure to soccer earned him many accolades at district and zonal levels, making him a true sports enthusiast.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare