Football is the most popular sport in the world, played by over 250 million people all around the world. Unsurprisingly, the FIFA World Cup is the most watched sporting competition on the planet. Around 1 billion people watched the final of 2014 World Cup, and it is slated to further increase with this year’s tournament.
Every World Cup introduces new technologies to be used on a large scale later on (Goal Line Technology etc.). With the World Cup in full swing, let’s have a look at this tournament’s top innovations –
VAR stands for Video Assistant Referee. This system uses video referees to help the on-field referees. They can refer to game-changing decisions like a penalty call, red card, offside etc. to the VAR for better decision making. The VAR team comprises of a lead VAR and 3 assistant VARs located at the International Broadcast Centre, Moscow. 33 broadcast camera feeds along with 2 dedicated offside cameras are available for them. 8 of these feeds are slow-mo while 4 are ultra slow-mo. Further, 2 additional ultra slow-mo cameras would be added for the knockout matches.
There has been no new tech used in football that has been criticised as much as VAR. It has been criticised by football pundits, players and fans alike. Fluidity and continuity of the game are the biggest issues highlighted with VAR. In the World Cup too, almost all VAR decisions have taken at least 2 minutes. It remains to be seen how FIFA can improve on the response time.
2 Adidas TelStar 18 Match Ball
Adidas has made the match balls for FIFA World Cup since 1970. This year has been no different. The Telstar 18 ball is a re-imagination of the original Telstar football, which was the first football Adidas designed for the World Cup.
The Telstar 18 has an NFC chip embedded in the ball. This chip allows users to connect to the ball and see details such as date of manufacturing and origin. While the functionality is limited, Adidas has said it would be expanded in the future to include shot speed, RPM etc.
3 VR feed
VR, or Virtual Reality, is a technology that allows you to feel the broadcast as if you were there. VR feeds have been provided by various broadcasters, allowing you the same experience of being present at the stadium. BBC provides it’s VR feed through its app, which can be used by Indian viewers too, provided they have a compatible VR headset.
4 Electronic Performance and Tracking System
The EPTS uses wearables such as armbands and anklets to transmit data about each players performance to their teams. Further, each of the 32 teams participating in the World Cup will have 3 tablets – one each for team analysts on the bench, the medical team and in the stands. The system will provide statistics about positioning, passing, speed, and tackles with lag of around 30 seconds.
I am a student of Mechanical Engineering (Undergrad 6th sem). My interests lie in 3D modelling, technology, writing and football. Feel free to ask me anything !