World Cup 2018: Hand-held devices to provide in-game analysis to coaches

World Cup 2018: Hand-held devices to provide in-game analysis to coaches

(CNN) – The late-Dutch great Johan Cruyff once said football is a game you play with your brain.

But now it’s a game increasingly played out using technology, with the World Cup in Russia set to showcase new ways to help coaches with hand-held devices, while on the pitch officials will be aided by video assistant referees (VAR).

Following on from the International Football Association Board’s decision to approve hand-held technologies on the bench, world governing body FIFA is allowing all 32 teams at the tournament to receive real-time support from an analyst throughout the duration of games.

“The software and infrastructure FIFA has put in place for the 2018 World Cup allows all teams a stable and secure connection between the match analysts located in the stands to the technical staff on the bench pitch side,” a FIFA spokesperson told CNN in a statement.

“By providing this dedicated platform, each team that chooses to use the system will have exactly the same capacity to provide visual and statistical data that can inform in-game decision making throughout the tournament.”

Sitting in the media section of stadiums, analysts will be able to track players’ movements from two optical cameras and send coaches annotated video clips on the team’s performance.

This information would then be sent to coaching staff through a tablet device, allowing the two to communicate with each other.

At the 2014 World Cup, information from analysts was only provided to coaching staff during halftime or after the game. The latest development also potentially levels the playing field for those nations who might not have been able to afford the technology to analyze their team’s performance.

Tech company AZSportech will be providing performance analysis to Uruguay at the World Cup in Russia.

“This type of technology can set the precedent for the next World Cup,” AZSportech founder Krikor Attarian told CNN Sport, referring to the FIFA initiative. “By the time the next one begins, there would be more on offer to assist teams from all nations — it’s a good first step.”

However, is there a danger of a player’s performance or a team’s tactics being hacked?

“FIFA remains committed to preventing security attacks in general,” said FIFA.

“We perform regular risk assessments in a variety of areas, including cyber criminality, which enables the implementation of overall preventive measures in cooperation with national and international enforcement authorities.”

Meanwhile VAR will be used to correct “clear and obvious mistakes,” such as to allow or disallow goals, award or deny penalties or if the referee disciplines the wrong player.

“Video refereeing will bring much more to the transparency of football,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said. “It isn’t going to be the solution to everything in football — what we want to do is avoid resounding mistakes by referees.”

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