“After the game is before the game.” In the 21st century, these wise words from 1954 FIFA World Cup™-winning head coach Sepp Herberger ring true not only for coaches and players on the pitch, but also for those who develop and manage football products and technologies that are part and parcel of the beautiful game nowadays.
Against this backdrop, FIFA’s Football Technology Innovation Department brought together over 150 experts to exchange ideas and discuss the latest developments from around the world at the second edition of the annual Football Technology & Innovation Event Week.
Over the course of three days, between 8 and 10 October, these experts convened at the Home of FIFA in Zurich for three workshops that represented an important milestone for the future development of global standards and technologies in football. In general, the discussions revolved around three key topics:
- updating the global standards for football products and technologies;
- improving the current football products and technologies;
- broadening access to football products and technologies at different levels of the game.
While on the first day, technology providers and manufacturers from various sectors of the football industry met and talked about new quality programmes such as the ones for VAR technology, the virtual offside line (VOL) and futsal playing surfaces, on the second day, representatives from academic and applied research institutions analysed the impact of certain research projects on new global standards and the improvement of the football experience on the pitch.
On day three, football stakeholders explored the influence of football technologies, in particular on the new football-data ecosystem, as well as discussing the challenge of processing player data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the next steps in the development of VAR technology.
Johannes Holzmüller, the Head of FIFA’s Football Technology Innovation Department, was very satisfied with the outcome of the workshops and the knowledge transfer that was achieved: “For the future development of football products and technologies, it is essential to be attentive to the needs of the different stakeholders and to have a platform where experience and ideas can be exchanged between the stakeholders.”