Technology in football, a new ally or an enemy to the sport?

Technology in football, a new ally or an enemy to the sport?

1920 1000 World Football Summit 2017

June 27th, 2010 is a significant, memorable day for the German National Football Team but especially for the English Football team. On the first half of the round 16 game FIFA World Cup 2010 at South Africa, Frank Lampard, midfielder of the England National Football Team scored a controversial goal to equalize the scoreboard, which would be uncalled by the referee whereas the International Football Association Board (IFAB) states in Law nº 10 regarding the method of scoring that a goal is made when the ball has crossed the goal line within the frame of the goal.

The controversy generated by this issue affected the FIFA to such extent, they had to invent a precise, infallible system for this situations which is the Goal-line Technology (GLT). Although this was not the first case to happen in football, most people call this sport “the art of football” which also implies the alongside development of new technologies and systems by FIFA to try to make the competitions better. The same situation happened in the World Cup 1966 final, when England played West Germany, but that time the referee called the situation a goal although it was clear that the ball had not surpassed the line.

In order to avoid ghost goals, FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012 was the first international competition where GLT was introduced. According to IFAB’s regulation, it is not yet an obligation for every federation to apply the GLT system to their local competition.

“The IFAB’s decision did not oblige anybody to use goal-line technology. Instead, organizers of leagues and competitions around the world will be able to choose themselves whether or not they wish to install the system.” Said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke during the IFAB Press conference, 5 July 2012[1].

This regulation, certainly, has been creating long and heated discussions amongst the purists and those who defend the modernist position in the football industry. Some people say it will take away the human-nature side of football, yet not everybody agrees with this position. For instance, Michel Platini when he became president of UEFA, disapproved the GLT system when apply it at UEFA EURO Cup and Champions League.

“I prefer that we have more referees to see if there is a penalty foul and if the ball is going over the line. We don’t need a perfect camera to see the ball”, said Platini to CNN on March 10th, 2014.

However, along with the stepping out of Michel Platini from UEFA, GLT implementation processes have begun at Euro 2016 and Champions League next season.

Fast-forward to the present day, we can see how in Major Leagues around the world they have already implemented GLT plus one referee on each side next to the goal. Moreover, we can see directly the video replay during the match to ensure if the ball has crossed the goal line. The second goal of France whilst playing against Honduras in FIFA World Cup 2014 was therefore approved by GLT system and supported by the referees decision.

How about you, do you agree with GLT or not?

Another technological breakthrough in the football industry is Big Data Analysis. The data analysis aims to acknowledge the statistic performance and the physical analysis of the players as to determine economic value for each players or revenue each match generates for both teams. For instance, Real Madrid collaborates with Microsoft, having agreed to applying Big Data Analysis during training sessions to monitor heart rate, performance and the level of accuracy in the players. The result will come hand by hand with coaches’ decision. In addition, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium has applied full experience in stadium where every spectator who watches the game live can connect to Wi-Fi and download Real Madrid CF’s mobile application to see the performance as well as match replays instantaneously.

This phenomenon is clearly changing the point of view of football. Football has evolved from a sport competition into a global business competition. World Football Summit, Spain’s first large scale convention on the football industry, which acts as a platform for every professional, company and institution will discuss further on the technological impact in the football industry. On top of that, World Football Summit will also discuss about social development in football and the present economics axis’ of football. This first edition of the event will be October 27th – 28th 2016 at the Complejo Duques de Pastrana which is one of the best locations in the center of Madrid.

[1] Goal-line Technology FIFA Documentation