For years, technology has been making its way into almost every area of life. It has also long since made inroads into the world of sports, especially football. Do the new technologies really make sense? Worried that it would change football too much, some were rather sceptical about the new trends. However, if you want to keep up with the times, you have to allow change and especially digitization. This is the only way to ensure that International football remains fit for the future and is evolved.
A goal is scored by a team, the crowd cheers, and then suddenly it is said that it wasn’t a goal after all or that it wasn’t counted because players were offside. But did the referee really make the right decision?
To eliminate these uncertainties, more modern and reliable methods are increasingly being used to monitor what is happening on the pitch and intervene exactly where the human eye fails. The best known of these is probably VAR. Although the technology was still in its infancy at the time, such methods appeared in the early 2010s. At that time, however, the then FIFA President Joseph Blatter spoke out against their use.
The method of video evidence works as follows: Video Assistant Referee (VAR) watches a replay of a disputed match situation in slow motion. He then relays his view of the situation to the referee via radio. In this way, the referee receives support when it comes to the imputation of goals, penalty kick or red card judgments. He also has the opportunity to take a look at the monitor himself on the sidelines.
Choosing the Right Players via AI
When it comes to selecting players, nothing should be left to chance. Experienced coaches choose their players carefully and according to strict criteria. But people always think subjectively and emotions can get in the way of making the best decision.
Especially in professional football, wrong decisions can have fatal consequences. That’s why there are efforts to keep human sources of error as small as possible through artificial intelligence. In the search for new football talent, AI is supposed to provide support through sober analyses and calculations. In the future, it can provide help with decisions with long-term effects.
For example, it can calculate how much a player will be worth in the further course of his career. Especially when it comes to transferring players, a definite statement here is worth its weight in gold. However, humans still have the last word. The data should only serve as a basis for this decision.
Train more Effectively
Innovative technologies are not only used at the football matches themselves but also during team training. For example, with the help of drones, coaches can view their team’s play from a completely new angle. This enables them to work out running routes, spatial distribution or tactical finesses more precisely.
Only when the players perform at their best do they have a chance of winning. In order to be able to track the development of this performance more precisely, GPS vests are being used more and more frequently. These vests record not only the running routes but also the biometric data, such as the pulse rate of the players.
The aim is to be able to make training even more individualized and targeted for each player. One of the pioneers in data collection and analysis is the Scandinavian football club FC Midtjylland. The fact that this club has become one of the best in Scandinavia shows the impact this method can have when used correctly.
Of course, this requires expensive technology that not every football club can afford. This clearly puts the smaller clubs at a disadvantage, making it increasingly difficult for them to compete with the larger clubs.
Think beyond the Field
Football is not just about the players on the field. It is the fans who make the sport what it is. This is another area where innovative methods can be used to engage fans more and give them a richer experience.
Famous football players like Ronaldo, Messi or Neymar have the most followers on social media. They can communicate directly with their fans through this channel. Football clubs have also discovered this method for themselves and let fans participate in the development of new designs through so-called crowd voting.
The advantage of this is that fans are involved in the processes surrounding the respective football club and become more loyal to it. Crowd voting serves to draw a picture of the mood and opinions within the fan community, which can then be reacted to accordingly. Direct interaction with fans has gained great importance in the digital age and should not be underestimated, especially when it comes to addressing a young target group. This also gives smaller clubs the opportunity to gain a wider reach and become more popular.
Digitization together with new innovative technologies has changed football behind the scenes and will continue to do so as technology advances even further. Whether in the selection of players, in training or in the area of communication with fans: the digital transformation of football cannot be ignored.
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