Football Data Ecosystem

What is it?

Data is a well-established commodity in the football landscape. Teams, media, broadcasters and competition organisers need access to player, team, and competition data in form of event and positional data. Unfortunately, this data is often of poor quality and inconsistent when obtained from unreliable sources, while also not GDPR compliant.

The FIFA Football Data Ecosystem is a complex network of several data sources, data processors and distribution layers providing consistent and high-quality data to all relevant stakeholders. The basis is the FIFA Football Language, a blueprint for how FIFA analyses football. The language breaks down each area of the game in detail and provides operational definitions and multiple video examples to clearly define each action.

How does it work?

Collection of event data (live) During the event data collection process every action on the field of play is being record. It includes data for every action during the match, such as passes, shots, substitutions, decisions of the match officials and many more. The aim of the live data-gathering process is to secure the highest possible data quality and richness within just a few seconds from when the action occurs on the field of play. This is achieved by splitting the live data-gathering process into several operational steps, creating different layers of data. Experienced analysts, known as “speakers”, are in the stadium and focus all their attention on what is happening on the field of play and communicate that information to the person known as the “writer”, who enters the information in the system. The speaker transcribes the actions on the pitch using easy and fluid language, so that the writer can easily input all this information into the system and the data can be delivered live to the data recipients. In addition to the speaker and the writer, up to two live observers are used to check the live data and to collect a second layer of data with additional information. While the most important and relevant information is captured directly by the speaker, the two live observers add value to these events at the highest level of data-gathering. Collection of positional data To collect the positional data (x-y coordinates) of all players, the referees and the ball, a state-of-the-art optical tracking system will be installed in all eight stadiums. The optical tracking system is able to capture player positioning multiple times per second, accurate to the nearest centimetre. This data not only reflects player position but can also be used to calculate speed, distance and direction of play. These metrics empower sports analysts to facilitate deeper insights and optimise physical and tactical performance. Football Data Platform FIFA provides all relevant stakeholders, in particular the participating teams, coaches, players and the media involved in the World Cup™, with a dedicated platform for data and video analysis. The platform’s main purpose is to display data coming from multiple sources to the relevant stakeholders in an insightful, user-friendly way to become the single source of performance data at FIFA.

How was it tested?

FIFA’s Football Data Ecosystem has been developed over recent years and tested at several FIFA tournaments, including the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™ and the FIFA Club World Cup™ in 2019 and 2021.

Last updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2022 at 13:48