Fifa launching new 'gold standard' for player monitoring

For the first time, teams were able to use electronic devices on the bench at the World Cup 

For the first time, teams were able to use electronic devices on the bench at the World Cup 

FIFA is launching a new system that it hopes will “change the way we understand monitoring data”.

Club and international teams are currently using a range of systems and providers to gather data during training and matches.

These are mainly: GPS, in which players wear units to capture data that is transmitted via satellite; Local Positioning Systems (LPS), in which data from a chip is transmitted via radio receivers; and optical tracking systems, in which data is captured by cameras.

Fifa said “clubs currently deal with a range of different providers (in-house and externally) which makes it difficult to compare information when players move clubs or join up with their national teams as the statistics can differ.”

In collaboration with FC Barcelona's Innovation Hub, world football's governing body is launching an Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems (EPTS) which "will change the way we understand the monitoring data that football teams collect during training and matches”.

Johannes Holzmueller, Fifa’s Head of Technology Innovation, explained: "What we're trying to achieve is that we have a gold standard in place [to monitor player performance]. At the moment, it's not clear if one system is better than another.

"Right now the different data sources are using a different data structure. That means if you're receiving data from one provider you can't compare it with the data from another provider because it's in a different format."

Fifa hopes the EPTS system “will be used across the game and that it will help all clubs and national teams improve performance”.

Holzmueller also gave some insight into how hand-held electronic devices had been used on the bench during the 2018 World Cup. For the first time, teams were able to use devices which provided tracking data “for coaching/ tactics or player welfare”.

"For the first time at the World Cup we had the opportunity to provide the teams with software and communication equipment," Holzmueller said.

"Thirty-one of the 32 teams used the communication equipment to talk to their analysts; 27 used the provided technology and software for medical and tactical use; and 25 teams used our platform for post match analysis.

"But technology will never change the game. It's improving the game, not [changing] the game itself, the most popular game on the planet. Why would it be in anyone's interest to change the game? Definitely not FIFA, we want to preserve the game. We want to protect the game.

"We want to improve the operations around it, so that the coaches, referees and fans get additional information."

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