This Sunday, France meets Argentina in the final of the 2022 World Cup. For this edition, a new actor (or rather a new actress) played an important role in the physiognomy of the games. She is technology.
More than ever, this World Cup has taken advantage of technological advances to support the referees. From in-ball sensors to ultra-precise cameras, technology has played a crucial role in this World Cup. So much so that certain game facts could be avoided as a result.
The Al Rihla balloon inflated with technology
The stitched leather round ball is ancient history. In 2022, one of the local players was actually the ball, dubbed Al Rihla (“the journey” in Arabic). Packed with sensors and technologies of all kinds, it was praised by all participants, from coaches to players to referees.
This new generation ball was in itself a real assistant for the referees responsible for VAR (Virtual Assistance to Referee). Thanks to its numerous sensors, in particular its geosensor, The referees in the dressing room could follow the exact position of the ball to the millimeter.
This precision, coupled with other sensors, made it possible, for example, to know when the ball had crossed a line (sideline, goal, corner), but also to help the referees determine whether an action resulted in an error or not.
The sensors made it possible to know when a player kicked the ball and whether an opponent hit it well or made a mistake. Offside positions were also whistled with this technique, sometimes with the cancellation of gates by just a few millimeters.
Some will say that a few millimeters in action wouldn’t have changed much. True, but the rules are the rules and they are the same for everyone.
12 cameras scanning players
They wouldn’t have missed Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt. In addition to the tech-packed ball, it was also the 22 players on the pitch monitored by 12 ultra-precise cameras.
Arranged on the roof of each stadium, these technical jewels can follow the movements of each player with amazing precision. 29 body parts of each player are analyzed 50 times per second to determine their position, study their movements, etc.
Here, too, the aim is to support the referee corps. Over the years, the pace of play has increased significantly, which does not always allow the referees present on the field to check the behavior of the 22 players.
Thanks to this device, the referees can know with a reasonable degree of certainty whether a player is in an offside position. All the more so when the information from the cameras is linked to that from the ball. The subtle little shots that players once allowed themselves are captured by the cameras here. The errors are also less severe.
to prove only two red cards after 56 games at this World Cup were taken out by the referees.
More observed, therefore, players seem to be more cautious about the idea of ”soles tightening”. A trend that some observers regret. On the mic of the Super Moscato Show, consultant and former footballer Eric Di Meco (not the last to grab the jugular) describes this World Cup as “Care Bear World Cup”. And to add:
It’s a contact sport, soccer. I don’t want us to become a sanitized sport.
A contact sport, Eric. No full contact.