“Sports Technology And The Future Of Football”
Soccer is a wonderful game and it’s the most popular team sport on the planet but for reasons unknown, it is for sure the most sports tech phobic of all. Fans like me understand the need to integrate technology into games as best as possible to help human official decide play outcomes, rule decisions and unsportsmanlike penalties, to name of few case uses. Then there is the ‘old school’ fan like my Dad that truly believe the human element is a critical component of sports that needs to stay in place no matter what. Club Football Online created an infographic titled, “Technology And The Future Of Football” to shine light on this important topic. The Sports Techie community blog readers and followers are global in reach and most likely advocates of using advanced technologies to assist officials, refs and umpires with the task of making the correct call. If you are split down the middle as to whether it should or should not be used, peruse the graphical information, facts and vision below in order to enlighten yourself about goal-line technology, video assistant refs and how technologies in other sports could be used, as well as what the future will bring and what the opinions of naysayers are.
Video Assistant Referees
Video replay officials are being looked at by FIFA on a trial basis which began with a friendly football match between team France and Italy on September 1, 2016. An instant replay solution was used to look at any questionable incidents that needed further review as happens on TV. Two video assistants are then allowed to use all the camera angles, zoom functionalities and poignant audio to help make a better informed decision.
This process is a real no-brainer for soccer and will be in place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
It took a long time for FIFA to decide to use Goal-Line Technology. It finally debuted during the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. This of course, was two years too late for England when they lost to Germany after a blown goal call was not reviewable. In 2013, the first real GTL decision made during play in a League Cup Quarterfinal between Sunderland and Chelsea FC. Bravo.
The Carios GLT System, GoalMinder and GoalRef are leading the way using sensors to operate. Each has merit and uses a different solution.
Carios designed a magnetic field to track a sensor inside the ball. Electric current producing cables are buried in the penalty box and behind the goal to create a grid. When the ball crosses the line, the ref receives a positive goal message in near real-time to their watch.
Goalminder requires high-speed cameras mounted into the goal posts and crossbar. In about five seconds, video evidence is delivered to the wristwatch of the head official.
GoalRef combines an electronic circuit embedded on the ball together with a low-frequency magnetic field around the goals. Coils in the goal frame detect changes in the electric field signifying a successful goal which then sends an alert to the ref’s smartwatch.
Hawk-Eye and GoalControl both designed sophisticated video based GLT.
The former uses 7 high-speed cameras positioned around a goal, typically mounted on the roof of a stadium. Within a half second of a goal, an encrypted signal is transmitted to a special watch worn by the referee.
The ladder uses 14 high-speed cams strategically placed around the stadium, 7 per goal. When a goal or non-goal occurs, data is wirelessly sent to an image processing centre locate inside the stadium, followed by an instantaneous message to the referee.
HopSpot technology used in cricket would be useful when a foul happens, or the dreaded dive or flop occurs.
RPM Counter free kick insight of ball whip.
Hawk-Eye is well known for transforming the game of tennis with their video system.When a ball crosses a sideline and endline, Hawkeye or similar tech could be used to help the linesman determine the right call.
Future Football Sports Tech
- Retractable Roof Cameras
- Wearable Cameras in Player’s Kits and Uniforms
- Flying Bug Cams
- Robot Football
Futuristic Stadia Pitch Technologies
2016 – Accelerators in mobile devices harnessed for app data capture then overlayed in visors
2017– Displays on electron hats and flags
2018 – Apps interface with supporter groups and players on-field Collectible Trading Cards
2020– Active contact lenses, personalized adverts and electronic jewelry
2025 – Augmented reality overlays and ref tools, measurable cleat data during kicks
2030 – 4D vibrating seats, pitch sensors
2035 – Video skin tattoo, health and training skin patch monitoring, physiological mindset delivered to broadcaster viewers, coaches and social media platforms
2040 – Robot competitions, flying LED light bearing devices, coach communication to players on the field
2045 – High-level strategic overlays, smartphone enables 3D sims, strategic simulations
2050 – Sensory simulation
2055 – International virtual leagues played for real outcomes
2060 – Androids controlled by human brain and body playing in sport leagues, fan insertion into professional game-like conditions, neuropriming of mental and physical performances, smart ads delivering analytic-driven nutrient
Sports Techie, the two criticism points made at the bottom of the infographic regarding valid reasons to not use sports tech to enhance football faces what the Borg in Star Trek live by, “resistance is futile.”
First, as discussed already, the human element of refs as a required part of the game is something I get. Yet the bias officials bring to a game is human nature that can be eliminated with tech to ensure non-partial fairness.
MLB umpires are prone to give the home team a strike zone not extended to the visiting pitchers and batters during the 2016 World Series. Point shaving corruption by officials already happened in the NBA. Offside calls and off ball personal foul infractions in soccer are often missed by the human eye call. American NFL and college football needs to upgrade first down, goal line, and goal post uprights, with laser technology, yesterday. Hockey is fast and furious on ice making super slow-mo reviews a must or else the only goal in a 1-0 game might be the result of a blown call.
The second argument regarding the removal of human ref decision makers taking away from fan debates going on across social media on gameday or matchday, throughout the season, and peaking during the playoffs, is a moot point because blowing calls simply compromises the integrity of the game. Allowing the wrong call to stay in place when an obvious overturn is in order after the technology check and balances in place indicate otherwise is plain moronic. Any commissioner that makes a decision to weigh fan debating over tech enhanced calls should lose his job immediately.
Pro sports is not considered a sport by many, rather it is regarded unfortunately as a business. CEO’s are fired when revenue goals are not met or the corporate culture of a brand is not what the board wants because it make sense. Therefore, when fan debates come before the making the right call, heads are going to roll in the front office of sports leagues and rightfully so because this is senseless.
Bring on sports tech in football and across all sports, it is the human interpretation we need to worry about.
See y’all later in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world.
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