This Sunday, France will meet Argentina in the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. For this edition, a new actor (or rather a new actress) played an important role in the physiognomy of the matches. She is technology.
More than ever, this World Cup has taken advantage of technological advances to assist the refereeing corps. 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 thanks to it.
The Al Rihla balloon, inflated with technology
The stitched leather round ball is ancient history. In 2022, one of the actors on the ground was actually the ball, dubbed Al Rihla (“the journey” in Arabic). Packed with sensors and technologies of all kinds, it has won praise from all participants, from coaches to players to referees.
This new generation ball was in itself a real assistant for the referees in charge of VAR (virtual assistant referee). Thanks to its many sensors, especially its geospatial sensor, the referees in the booth could follow the exact position of the ball to the nearest millimeter.
This precision, combined with other sensors, made it possible, for example, to know when the ball had crossed a line (sideline, goal, corner), but also to help referees determine whether an action resulted in a foul. , or not.
The sensors made it possible to know when a player kicked the ball and to determine if an opponent had hit him well or if he had made a mistake. Offside positions have also been whistled using this technology with, in some cases, the cancellation of measurements for just a few millimeters.
Some would say that a few millimeters would not have changed much in the action. True, but the rules are the rules and they are the same for everyone.
12 cameras that scan the players
Zinedine Zidane’s infamous header would not have escaped them. In addition to the technology-packed ball, the 22 players were also on the pitch monitored by 12 ultra-precise cameras.
Arranged on the roofs of each stadium, these technological jewels are able to follow each player’s movements with unsettling precision. 29 body parts of each player are analyzed 50 times per second to determine their position, study their movements, etc.
Here again the aim is to assist the referee corps. Over the years, the speed of play has increased considerably, which does not always give the referees present on the pitch the opportunity to scrutinize the behavior of the 22 players.
Thanks to this device, referees can know with near certainty if a player is in an offside position. Even more so if the information from the cameras is linked to that of the ball. The discreet little pictures that the players once allowed themselves are captured by the cameras here. The errors are also less severe.
Proof, after 56 games in this World Cup, only two red cards was taken out by the judges.
More generally, players therefore seem more cautious about the idea of ”putting soles on”. A trend that some observers deplore. At the microphone of the Super Moscato Show, Eric Di Meco, consultant and ex-footballer (not the last to tackle the carotid artery), describes this World Cup as “Care Bear World Cup”. And to add:
It is a contact sport, soccer. I didn’t want us to become a sanitized sport.
A contact sport, Eric. No full contact.