Gone are the days when football was all about the players, the pitch and the ball.
Now it’s a huge industry where technology is playing an increasingly important role.
And while we’re all thinking about VAR, it’s not the only way computers are being incorporated into sport.
From GPS-loaded bras to semi-automatic offside tech, all sorts of cool gimmicks are set to feature heavily in this year’s football season.
Let’s take a look at what we can expect on the pitch.
For the players
Connected Kit for women only
We may be on our feet for a while after the Lionesses are crowned European champions, but it’s also a reminder that domestic action will return to women’s football too.
The Women’s Championship begins on August 20, with the Women’s Super League following a month later. Many of the players will likely wear the StatSports GPS sports bra, which is capable of capturing metrics such as top speed, sprints, and stress levels.
This connected bra can provide more security, includes removable cups to give players the best support, and replaces StatSports’ unisex version of its GPS-packaging smart garment.
The sports data company also counts the Manchester City, Southampton and England women’s teams among its customers. So expect these senior teams to wear these connected sports bras in the coming season.
A smarter offside call
One of the most controversial laws in the game should hopefully be less controversial at the World Cup in Qatar later this year, as Fifa has announced it will be using semi-automated offside technology at the tournament to give referee teams the best technology on the field to make the right calls.
The new system uses a combination of artificial intelligence, tracking cameras mounted on stadium roofs and tracking sensors placed inside the official World Cup ball.
All three together provide positional data that generates automated offside alerts for video game officials. This alert is manually verified by those off-field officers before notifying the man in the middle.
It has already been tested at two Fifa tournaments in the hope that the semi-automation will make offside calls faster and, more importantly, more accurate.
For the fans
A scarf that feels
Manchester City and tech company Cisco have upgraded the off-the-ground pickup scarf, giving it the power to learn how fans experience the action on the pitch.
The smart scarf is equipped with an EmotiBit sensor that can track heart rate, temperature and emotional arousal via an EDA sensor to analyze reactions to key in-game moments.
It has already been tested by six Manchester City fans and will continue to follow those City fans as they hunt more trophies.
Fifa football on TV
All of the action from the 2022 World Cup will of course be streamed on our screens, but if you need a bigger visual football fix, Hisense is loading Fifa+ onto its TVs for easier immersion into the World Cup archives.
As well as launching the free platform, the TV producer is also producing its own daily live show of the tournament, serving up highlights and live reactions from the Fan Festival, which will feature fans who don’t make it to the stadium WM action.
Drone on drone marker
Drones will take to the skies at this year’s World Cup and will be tasked with severely tagging malicious drones.
Airspace security company Fortem Technologies has partnered with Smart Communications System to provide safety in the air.
Its DroneHunter drone uses an artificial intelligence-powered radar specifically designed to intercept aerial threats in busy environments like sports stadiums, keeping players and fans safe.
For the clubs
Keeping players fit throughout the season
Zone7 will be used by 2022 FA Cup winners Liverpool to ensure they are a team fighting on all fronts and getting their best 11 fit for the crucial games.
Powered by artificial intelligence, Zone7 compiles match, training, sleep and stress data to help the club understand if a player is at risk of injury and provide recommendations on how to manage that risk.
Liverpool have already got the instrument working and are continuing their partnership this season, including their women’s and U23 teams, to increase their success at all levels.
Give the hot prospects a break
Every amateur player wants to be noticed and AiScout uses a phone and AI to make getting a contract a reality.
Through its platform, which can be accessed by any aspiring footballer, it offers you the possibility of performing specific exercises that can be recorded on a phone. This data is then compared to other players of the same age who have been signed by professional clubs.
These virtual trials are analyzed by the AI to score, score and provide feedback based on benchmark results for the club the player is playing with.
It was first tested by Chelsea and Burnley, with 45 amateur players signing or testing through the professional club or national team platform. Burnley have decided to continue their AiScout partnership beyond this testing period to help identify players for their women’s team and their men’s academy teams.
Download AiScount on iOS and Android.
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