Football of the 21st Century: Are The Emerging Technologies Leaving Their Mark On The Greatest Game Of All Time?

When Ronaldinho said, “I learned all about life with a ball at my feet,” millions of football fans across the globe felt it. Called the greatest sport of all time, football is one of the world’s most awaited, watched, and followed games. With time, the game has employed various techniques and technologies to ensure a fair game for all its players and an outstanding match for all its viewers. The latest in the long list of technologies employed by Football is the use of Artificial Intelligence in this year’s FIFA 2022 held in Qatar.

Every game has three important aspects: the players, the viewer, and then the game itself. Here is how various forms of technologies, especially Artificial Intelligence, is making some truly revolutionary and mind-blowing impact at FIFA 2022.

For the Players  

This year, the players can look at their game more critically, backed by the most accurate data. Combined with cameras deployed on the field, an array of complex algorithms, and data metrics captured in real time by performance analysts, the players can get a detailed understanding of the game. They can even get minute details of the game, like the distance covered by them, the pressure on the ball when they receive it, etc. This helps players get a holistic view of their game and their form and helps them strategize their further game plan accordingly.

For The Viewers  

FIFA has employed Bonocle and Feelix to ensure visually impaired football fans do not miss out on even a minute of the game. Founded in 2014 by Abdelrazek Aly and Ramy Soliman, Bonocle is a technology-driven company aimed at improving the lives of the blind community. Bonocle uses assistive technology and transcoding functionality to aid visually impaired individuals in enjoying footballs like everyone. Feelix, on the other hand, has developed the Feelix Palm, which will use tactile palm communicators during the match for transmitting braille-like messages to visually impaired fans.

Now, for the fans present in the stadium, you ask? Well, FIFA Qatar 2022 has got them covered too. One of the biggest challenges to tackle in Qatar was the harsh weather conditions. However, to tackle the same, seven of the eight stadiums hosting the Qatar World Cup 2022 are featuring advanced cooling technology that will help to keep the atmosphere in the stadium, especially near the spectators, cool.

For The Game  

Firstly, the most important aspect of the game – Football, has been designed by Adidas exclusively  

for the game. Called the “Al Rihla,” it comes with an embedded inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor at the center of the ball that helps in making tough off-side calls. Also, the Adidas suspension system is designed to help precisely detect the exact kick point. FIFA currently claims that the ball travels way faster in flight than any other ball in the history of this tournament.   

Offside calls are what ideally decide the fate of a match. Making this decision with utmost accuracy is extremely important and necessary to avoid conflicts. Along with Video Assisted Referee (VAR), FIFA is employing a new semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) this year. Here, there are 12 cameras attached to the stadium’s roof that will help track the accurate moments of the ball and the players. Combining the data obtained from the cameras and the data from the sensor inside the ball, the offside decisions will be made much more accurately in this year’s tournament. This precision level becomes essential when referees need to make quick, difficult offside calls.

For every interesting and mind blogging moment you witness on your screen in this year’s FIFA, a ton of technology has gone behind them to get them to you. With technology enhancing every aspect of our lives, there is no reason why one must not enjoy the nuances of sports by leveraging technology to relive moments that make history. Happy Game!  

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