Wednesday 20 September 2023, 04:00

Peer-Reviewed Football Research: A Comprehensive Collection contributed to technology at the FIFA Women's World Cup™

  • All technological innovations used at the FIFA Women's World Cup™ underwent thorough scientific evaluations to ensure their integration into the game has positive benefits.

  • The Topical Collection on Football Research is part of the drive to ensure that football research is peer-reviewed and made publicly available to the benefit of the football community.

  • The collection consists of peer-reviewed papers and an executive summary which identifies ongoing research in the football technology space.

Harnessing technology in football to reshape the way that the sport is both presented and perceived, as well as unlocking greater efficiency for football’s administration, was one of the core goals of FIFA’s vision 2020-23. Simultaneously, FIFA’s role has been to facilitate the cost-effectiveness of those tools and ensure they are accessible globally to mark a uniform improvement of the football experience around the world – both for players, and for fans.

The symbiotic relationship between football, industry, and academia is deepening, creating opportunities to develop every facet of the game. The combination of new technology, research-led approaches, and football expertise is cultivating an environment where ideas can be developed, assessed, and implemented faster than ever. It is important to ensure that the implementation of these ideas benefit football globally and are supported by scientific evidence. Over the last decade, FIFA and the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA) have collaborated on a number of projects. The Topical Collection on Football Research in the Sports Engineering Journal was a natural progression of this relationship. The primary objective behind this initiative was to capture and present the most recent research advancements in football while also raising awareness about upcoming topics in the field within academic, industry, and public circles. The collection contains 14 papers that address current challenges and highlight recent scientific and technological developments in football, such as game analysis and player tracking technologies, officiating technologies, and football-surface, -player and -environment interaction.

Within the collection, an invited paper explores why women-specific tailoring is needed in football. The paper identifies the unique challenges that female players’ experience due to the design and development of technology and football products around male players, as well as a lack of research for female specific challenges. In addition, the paper highlights where focus is needed and calls on industry, and academia to leverage new technologies and research methods to improve performance and health for female players. The Sports Engineering community is keen to explore ideas on how this topic can be further promoted. "Research plays a pivotal role in the exploration and development of new technologies and products for football, providing empirical evidence to quantify benefits, potential risks, and challenges. Every technological innovation introduced at the FIFA Women's World Cup™ had to undergo rigorous scientific evaluations to ensure it had a positive impact on the game” explained Johannes Holzmuller, FIFA Director of Football Technology Innovation. The conclusion of the collection aligns with the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, capitalising on the excitement surrounding the biggest female football event in history and highlighting important and ongoing research opportunities in football.

Football Technology & Innovation