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World Cup 2022 – How technology innovation will shape football’s future

On the eve of the 2022 FIFA world cup, as a team at new world tech the topic of conversation has been the link between football and technology, and how tech continues to shape the game, In this article we look at how technology has evolved the game over the decades. Technology is always evolving, an aspect that football over the decades has continued to benefit from. Nevertheless, due to fan or football association preferences, some of the continental competitions do not use particular forms of technology. Nonetheless in most cases this technology has shown to be extremely supportive and has assisted match officials, teams, and facility officials in making the right calls in regard to the game. Whether you refer to it as soccer or football, the delight and rush of this stunning and mesmerising sport unify supporters around the globe.

The implementation of technology didn’t truly begin to enter the world of football until the 1980s, where we saw the introduction of video analysis. Coaches and players had the opportunity to rewatch their games, analyse the match plays and get fresh insight. This fundamentally altered how football was displayed.

The most remarkable changes in football technology can be seen when we start to look back over the last twelve years. The introduction of GPS tracking to football which took place in 2008. It was obvious that GPS, a fantastic piece of technology in and of itself, would have a significant impact on football. International football teams can collect data on players such as total distance travelled, the number of accelerations, decelerations and the amount of high-speed running made by a player by utilising GPS systems. As it shows to provide a greater understanding of player performance on the field, this has not only reduced the risk of player injury but also helped assess a player’s potential.

Such data gives international football teams a greater understanding of a player’s overall work rate over long periods of time, which is helpful when deciding the match plays and formations of the team to field against a country rival where the competitive nature continuous to increase

Over the past few years, technology aimed at enhancing player health and recuperation has also had a significant impact. The term “Compression Clothing” became extremely popular in the same year when GPS tracking technologies first appeared. By boosting blood flow and tissue temperature through mild pressures, these innovative athletic clothing lessen the negative effects of tiredness including muscle soreness and atrophy. Additionally, it is thought that the gear enhances sensory responsiveness, a fundamental football ability.

2018 was the first year for VAR. (Video assistant refereeing) which continues to be the main topic of conversation in football technology, and with good reason.
Decades later, there is still discussion about World Cup refereeing judgments.
Any apparent error by the referee will be analysed by fans years afterwards, from whether the ball crossed the line in the final in 1966, to Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” decades later, to some of the decisions made by the video assistance referee in the FIFA world cup hosted in Russia 2018.

Referees need all the assistance they can get, and the provision of artificial intelligence proves to be an essential fix. FIFA has been testing limb-tracking offside technology for the past few years. This system employs AI and a network of cameras placed across the stadium to track players’ limbs and instantly generate virtual offside lines for referees.
Artificial intelligence can be utilised to keep a player in good shape or anticipate when an injury might occur, both of which can lead to crucial marginal performance advantages.
For instance, the Zone7 artificial intelligence software, which analyses data from wearables, fitness tests, and medical profiles to identify players who may be at danger of injury, which is already in use by more than 50 international teams worldwide.

Looking for parking spots or waiting in long ques when it comes to match days can often prove to be a nuance on game day. The use of intelligent technologies is now capable of recording previously untracked on-site data on fan interactions. Facility officials can optimise logistics and provide a better fan experience through analysing this data.

Fans accessing stadiums are able to benefit from a more contemporary, fulfilling experience thanks to technology like digital twins, IoT sensors, and deep learning AI. By reducing obstacles and accelerating travel times, these technologies foster a safer, healthier environment for both fans and facility employees.

A decision stamped in 2010 marking Qatar as the host nation for the 2022 FIFA world cup being held for the first time in the Middle East, provides a unique chance for travellers visiting the region to see its culture, diversity, and people while also witnessing the fruits of years of laborious planning and organisation. Although opening doors towards the expansion of football in the middle east given the estimated $220 Billion invested into new rail networks, stadiums, hotels and roads, the host nation has raised questions on the ethics surrounding the millions of migrant workers accounting for 90% of the workforce, a factor FIFA potentially failed to anticipate in the build-up, however a factor the federation assumed, that Qatar’s supreme committee for Delivery & Legacy may be able to properly manage. Which proved the contrary with various accusations of working conditions most notably during summer periods, pay and compensation.

As over 1.2 million fans make their way to Qatar for the 2022 world cup major investments were allocated in preparation by the host nation which included advancements in the use of AI and IOT systems to keep an eye on spectators, predict crowd swells and control stadium temperature. These advancements prove crucial in predicting crowd surges and supporting decision making in regard to dealing with overcrowding through sharing this information with security officials. As officials are aware of the number of fans expected based on ticket sells, data aggregation techniques enable them to forecast crowd patterns.

As innovation continues to take place and ground-breaking advancements materialize, there’s always a what’s next moment. In this case what’s next for tech in football? A notable feature of the 2022 world cup not seen before is the high-tech match ball, integrated with FIFA‘s new Semi automated offside Technology, enhancing the blueprint of the existing VAR. Could we possibly see the use of augmented and virtual reality at future international competitions? The possibilities are endless! It is only a matter of time until it is tested to advance the most popular and renowned sport in the world. It can be challenging to implement on this scale and is due to come with a fair share of scrutiny and setbacks. However, leading into the next decade of international competitions these topics of conversation will be thrilling for international teams, analysts and fans alike.

The team at New World Tech is excited to see how technology will shape this year’s world cup. If you would like to discuss any of your technology changes please contact us.

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