Friday 21 October 2022, 10:30

Tech innovations spotlighted at FIFA Quality Programme Conference and FIFA Research Symposium

  • 5th annual FIFA Quality Programme Conference and FIFA Research Symposium took place at the Home of FIFA

  • Unique exchange platform for industry and researchers to discuss new technologies, sustainability developments and the women’s game

  • Participants were invited to present their latest innovations

The annual FIFA Quality Programme Conference and FIFA Research Symposium took place over two days at the Home of FIFA, with 150 participants from the football industry, including FIFA Member Associations, Confederations, Leagues, Test/Research Institutes and Universities. Another 160 participants joined the morning sessions online where the emphasis centred on the ongoing developments across all FIFA Quality Programmes and the current global challenges in relation to the development of football technologies.

The afternoon was dedicated to practical and interactive sessions. Representatives from adidas, Tencate and the University of Bologna kicked things off with a panel discussion about the importance of sustainable innovation to developing football. Members of the audience were encouraged to share their perspectives too, whether from clubs or technology providers.

For the first time in the five years of the conference, companies were invited to present their latest technological innovations in football. Participants gained insights into a variety of different tracking technologies -including the ball-tracking technology that is used for the semi-automated offside technology - as well as a lower-limb player tracking technologies, a VAR Technology solution and a new automated playing surface testing device.

The highlight of the session was a 9 v 9 football match featuring the practical demonstration of all technologies, offering players insights into their tracking data, as well as the opportunity to experience first-hand, the use of VAR Technology.

The FIFA Research Symposium on Day 2 provided insights into the importance of science in assessing the latest technologies, developing new quality programmes and exploring opportunities. It began with a presentation on the research journey behind the validation and assessment of the new Semi-Automated Offside Technology that will be used at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

Presentations from the University of Liege and ETH in Zurich explored the potential applications of computer vision algorithms from both multi-camera and single camera setups, an important development with regards to the democratisation of football technologies. Researchers from MIT explored how tracking data from different sources can be used to automatically generate event data from contextualised passing events to tactical information without the need for human coding. A PHD student from Victoria University explained the importance of data validation and the development of a gold standard for ball tracking.

The conference also discussed a proposed decision-making framework for evaluating the quality of sports technology. The framework highlighted the critical need to go beyond data accuracy alone by incorporating the value, ethics & security, user experience and data management into the assessment process. This framework could in future be used by governing bodies, teams, and the football industry, to advance the quality and impact of sport tech in football.

Finally, a FIFA panel including Senior Technical Development Manager Belinda Wilson from the Women's Football Department and Medical Researcher Andreas Serner, explored the intricacies of cross departmental research. This highlighted the importance of thinking bigger, re-purposing existing resources, and developing new collaborations that can benefit a larger variety of stakeholders.

A smaller group of researchers also reviewed global research projects that could benefit from the harnessing of synergies between sport, industry and academia, to maximise the benefit of research across the football pyramid.

We would like to thank all those who attended for their engagement and contribution. This unique group of people enabled inspiring discussions about latest technologies, research themes and opportunities for their application in the game.

Katharina Wistel, Group Leader of Quality Programme
Katharina Wistel, Group Leader of Quality Programme