The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Where is Football Headed?
The football world seems completely split on whether technology in football is the right way forward or not. Unfortunately for those who don’t like the idea, technology is starting to creep its way into the beautiful game anyway.
The latest installation has been the trail of video replays, where a referee gets to take another look at an incident, like we all do when we watch the game on the TV. We also have Goal-Line technology, which has been implemented into the top flight for a couple of years now and we’ll show you just how the technology works and the different types being used today.
But what’s in store for football technology in the future and what technology could Football take from other sports? This piece has the answers.
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TECHNOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF FOOTBALL
With the recent arrival of video replays trialled in the friendly match between France and Italy, we thought we’d look into technology and how the beautiful game will look in the future.
- Remains the only piece of significant “game-changing” technology to be introduced into football.
- Made its debut in the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
- Its first in-play decision was to confirm Frank Lampard’s Goal in 2013 League Cup Quarter Final between Sunderland Vs Chelsea.
SENSOR BASED SYSTEMS
CARIOS GLT SYSTEM
- Uses a magnetic field to track a ball, which has a sensor suspended inside.
- Cables with electric currents running through them are buried in the penalty box and behind the goal line to make a grid.
- When a ball crosses the line a message is transmitted to referee.
- Uses high-speed cameras built into the goal posts and crossbar.
- Delivers visual evidence to the referee in less than five seconds.
- Features a passive electronic circuit embedded in the ball and a low-frequency magnetic field around the goal.
- Any change in the field on or behind the goal-line is detected by coils embedded in the goal frame.
VIDEO BASED SYSTEMS
- 7 high speed cameras are mounted around each goal, usually on the roof of the stadium.
- If the ball crosses the line an encrypted signal is transmitted to the referee within half a second.
- 14 high speed cameras are mounted around the stadium, 7 directed to each goal.
- Data sent to image processing centre within stadium.
- Decision messaged to referee.
How It Works
- When an incident occurs, the Referee stops play.
- TV replays are consulted by two Video Assistant Referees.
Trialled for the first time in a friendly match between France & Italy on September 1st 2016. Will be used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
COULD FOOTBALL TAKE TECHNOLOGY FROM OTHER SPORTS?
Hot Spot: To determine whether a foul has been committed or whether a player has dived?
RPM COUNTER: Give viewers an insight into free-kicks and how much “whip” is on the ball?
Hawk-Eye for Tennis: Be used like it is in Tennis, where it can determine whether a ball is in or out of the field of play all over the pitch?
TECHNOLOGY IN THE FUTURE
So what will the future hold for technology in football? Here are some realistic, and some not so realistic predictions…
Retractable Turf Cameras: Working similarly to sprinkler and will withdraw/pop up depending on where the players are on the pitch.
Cameras Embedded in Players’ Kit: Would give Video Assistant Referees the ultimate point of view to judge decisions. It would also give fans the opportunity to see what it looks like to be a player on the pitch.
Flying Bug Cameras: Will follower players around and stream live video to broadcasters.
Robot Football: Robots will be introduced to help with training and can simulate certain situations.
HOW WILL THE FOOTBALL PITCH OF THE FUTURE LOOK?
2016: Accelerometers in mobiles used in supporters apps. Basic data overlays via visors.
2017: Displays used in electronic hats and flags.
2018: Apps allows supporter groups to link to players on the field Collectable Player Cards.
2020: Retractable cameras in turf with player location sensing. Active contact lenses. Personalised adverts and half-time directions. Electronic Jewllery. Cameras routinely embedded in player kit.
2025: Full high-res video augmented reality overlay via visors. Ball impact sensors and accelerometers in football boots. Referees get enhanced augmented reality tools.
2030: Vibrating seating used in atmosphere management. Pitch condition data sensors embedded. Insect-like robots carry tiny cameras and follow players.
2035: Players wear active skin video tattoos. Active skin used in health monitoring and training. Real-time player physiological data broadcast to coach.
2040: Robot football starts to become commonplace. Airborne LED lighting via insect-like robots. Real-time player physiological data available to fans. Full video clothing worn by players and fans. Sensory relay between players and fans. Active contact lenses & coach audio links permitted on-field.
2045: Players get bird’s eye view of field with strategy overlay. Smartphones enable ultra-real 3D simulation & immersion. Full strike and strategy simulation used in training.
2050: Full sensory simulation lets fans feel as if they were playing.
2055: Virtual leagues with gamers competing in ‘real’ games.
2060: Full android teams very common with their own leagues. Fans can directly control android players on field. Fans can directly control android players on field. Fans can remotely inhabit android players as if its them. Full active skin-based sensory relay from players to fans. Advanced nutraceuticals linked to real-time physiology. Smart nutritional consumption data used in advertising.
While advocates for goal-line technology maintain that it would significantly reduce refereeing errors during play, there are also criticisms of the technology. Critics point out that such technology would impact on the human element of the game and remove the enjoyment of debating mistakes.