Two technological innovations have been at the centre of the conversations because they influence the game. We will explain how these technologies work and how they have impacted some referees’ decisions.

⚽ Al Rihla, the Smart Ball.

Mondays´game between Portugal against Uruguay had an uncertain moment about who scored the Portuguese first goal. However, FIFA confirmed via the connected match-ball technology that Cristiano Ronaldo did not make contact with the ball and did not score Portugal’s opener. 

🎙 FIFA statement: “In the match between Portugal and Uruguay, using the Connected Ball Technology housed in adidas’s Al Rihla Official Match Ball, we are able to definitively show no contact on the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo for the opening goal in the game. No external force on the ball could be measured as shown by the lack of ‘heartbeat’ in our measurements. The 500Hz IMU sensor inside the ball allows us to be highly accurate in our analysis.”

The match ball developed by adidas in close collaboration with FIFA and KINEXON includes technology which can provide real-time data to match officials. It also captures every touch made by players with sensors. Al Rihla is the first World Cup Official Match Ball to feature this innovation, providing precise ball data, which, besides, helps the Video Match Officials in real-time.

The match ball has the new Adidas Suspension System in the centre of the ball hosts and stabilises a 500Hz inertial measurement unit (IMU) motion sensor. The sensor is powered by a rechargeable battery, which can be charged by induction.

🖥 Semi-Automated VAR.

The FIFA World Cup has relied heavily on its semi-automated VAR technology and has already impacted the 2022 FIFA World Cup in several games.

Semi-automated offside technology, announced in July, offers a support tool for the video match officials and the on-field officials to help them make faster, more accurate and more reproducible offside decisions.

🤔 How does it work? 
It has 12 tracking cameras around the stadium apart from a sensor inside the new Al Rihla ball. This technology provides an automatic offside alert to the Video Assistant Referee every time the ball is played to a player in an offside position. There is no need for protracted VAR replays to determine whether a player is offside or not.

🔜 Technology was necessary to make football fairer and to help the referees with difficult game decisions. However, not all football stakeholders are pleased about this; let´s see if it´s a matter of time to realise that technology is not going anywhere as it happened in other sports.


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