Sports evolve alongside technology. Among the first sports to embrace new technology was tennis. Often called the Hawk-Eye system, it is used in sports like tennis, badminton, volleyball, cricket and similar ball sports, to display the projected path of a ball, following a questionable call from a referee.
Football was reluctant to adopt technologies such as this one, yet things changed, most notably with the World Cup in 2018. Here are some of the modern applications of technology which are changing football
VAR – Video Assisted Referees
This is a relatively new addition to football, one that has been discussed for more than a decade. The system uses laser-calibrated cameras which are placed all over the stadium which project virtual lines and record gameplay to help referees make better decisions. This helps with infractions such as offsides and some difficult situations where a red card might be more appropriate than a yellow one.
The system works via a replay function which allows assistant referees to help the main ones reach a better decision. It is a complicated system which will need more testing and tampering with before it is stable. Consider the 2018 World Cup a beta test.
Goal Line Technology
This was first seen at the 2014 World Cup and is a system which incorporates magnets and cameras to determine whether a goal was scored. The magnetic fields around the goals react to the ball, which itself has some magnetic properties. The cameras placed around the goal also help with determining whether a goal was scored.
Referees wear smart watches which signal them if a goal is scored, with a one-second delay, most of the time. This technology, compared to VAR is much more predictable and easier to implement, which is shown by its earlier adoption in the 2014 World Cup, as compared to the 2018 beta test of VAR.
Many national teams are looking at more advanced methods of getting statistics, and Germany was the first team to actually make good use of this. During their victorious 2014 World Cup run, they were partnered with a company called SAP, a cloud-based platform which measures statistics of both the interested parties and their opponents. Access to advanced statistics means better preparation and better analysis after a game.
Following Germany’s 2014 success, more countries are looking at various tools and software to help them with statistics and more efficient preparation. Advanced statistics can also be used as a scouting tool, as many companies take note of all the matches across an entire country.
These are some of the newer inventions that football implemented and which will make it that much more measurable, predictable and safer, for the players, teams, referees and everyone involved.