Two nations with their historical rivalries in politics and world realm never really knew that they would revolutionise the game of football. Yes, I am talking about England and Germany.
The notion of the use of technology started right from the controversy created by England’s Geoff Hurst’s goal in 1966 FIFA World Cup Finals when England defeated Germany. Fast Forward 44 years, we saw another controversy created due to a disallowed goal of Frank Lampard of England in 2010 FIFA World Cup in which Germany won by 4-1. Thus, came the need to modernise the sport using technology.
THE MODERN GAME
With the evolution of other sports like Tennis, Cricket, Badminton etc. in using modern technology for a fair play, it was the time that football also got its own due share.
International Football Association Board has decided to utilise modern technology for more transparency during the game. Adidas, Cairos, Hawk-Eye and many other companies have been roped in to bring cutting-edge technologies to football. Some examples of them are:
It is to determine whether the ball has completely crossed the goal line between the goal posts and the crossbar.For this, optical cameras and magnetic field-detection are employed.
Seven cameras, which can shoot at around 600 frames per second, are located behind the goal-fence area. These cameras work in conjunction with the magnetic field created by the thin electric wires laid beneath the field covering the penalty area and the goal post, hence making a grid. Just as the ball crosses the goal-line, a “Goal” message is instantaneous popped up on the on-field referee’s watch.
Diego Maradona recently said,“VAR would have disallowed my goal against England in 1986 FIFA World Cup”. This was the famous “Hand of God” goal which made Argentina win the World Cup.
In layman’s language, VAR is like the third-umpire of cricket. So, whenever some critical circumstances arise which can change the course of the match, like penalty decisions, goal scored, issuing a red card and a case of mistaken identity of a player, the video assistant referee can come into play and change the decision accordingly, to act in a fair manner.
ELECTRONIC PERFORMANCE AND TRACKING SYSTEMS
It is being termed as the next big thing in the domain of technology in football. But what makes it so special? It can track a player’s and football’s position in real time. EPTS can further be used in conjunction with heart rate monitors and other micro-devices like gyroscopes and accelerometers that can be physically fitted on a player. These can provide status of the health of the player, the speed at which he is running, at what distance he is to the ball, etc. in a real time scenario. Thus, EPTS can prevent excessive physiological load on the player.
These are the three game-changing technologies being used in football today. They have been implemented by FIFA recently in the FIFA Confederations Cup held in Russia in 2017. Similar technologies can also be used in the ongoing Under-17 FIFA World Cup being held in India.
However, critics say that the intervention of technology will reduce the human element and the nail-biting exhilaration for which football is all known about. But, we must also understand that change is the only constant and keeping in demands with the sport, technology is the only way to go forward.