World Cup Is Techiest Yet – So Why No Champions League Technology?

August 7, 2014 2:41 PM

The recent World Cup in Brazil was, by a long chalk, the most tech savvy football event in history. It may well have a legitimate claim to be the highest tech sports event of any kind so far – though technology usage is so widespread in the Olympics that it’s difficult to compare like with like.

Technology was used in many different ways during the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

Technology was used in many different ways during the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

And all this begs the questions as to why we don’t yet have similar levels of technology in the Champions League – about which more in a moment.

But first – what, exactly, was the technology in use in Brazil?

Well first off – GoalControl, a German company, fitted seven high-speed cameras for each goalmouth (14 per stadium) to each stadium roof. These were then linked up to an image-processing computer. The computer filtered out any object not shaped like a ball and then plotted the ball’s position. The system was accurate to within a couple of millimetres, and anyone watching on TV will have sent he results pretty quickly. And the technology undoubtedly ironed out many difficulties the referees would otherwise have experienced.

France was the first ever nation in the history of he tournament to benefit from the new technology, when the second goal in their 3-0 victory over Honduras was shown to have crossed the line.

Furthermore, Sony, win an official FIFA support role, set up around 225 high-definition cameras. These were installed to capture over 2,500 hours of play.

This was the first World Cup tournament to be filmed in ultra-high-definition 4K format. This has around four-fold the definition and resolution of HD TV and calls for a satellite network that can process 100 megabits each second. Most viewers can’t yet receive such ultra-high-definition but Sony used the competition as a testing ground for future events an to prove the system can function properly. This will be the wave of the future for many live events – and by the time the next World Cup is staged in Russia in 2018, you can bet millions more early uptake tech-savvy people will be able to receive the higher definition format.

The Champions League needs to play serious catch up to ensure the latest technology is used during games.

The Champions League needs to play serious catch up to ensure the latest technology is used during games.

Meanwhile, the World Cup was techier than ever in more general ways as people gambled, chatted and filmed on their tablets and mobiles and data streamed all around the globe in relation to the event.

So all of this begs the question as to why we can’t have the same in the Champions League where, as yet, there are no plans for goal line technology.

The Champions League is, of course, very big business. These days, Champions League betting is enormous and so any technology that can iron out the inevitable human (referee) failings has to be welcomed. But not by UEFA President Michel Platini, it seems, who is keen to have the system in place in his native France for the Euro 2016 finals, but doesn’t see it happening yet in the Champions League because it would cost around £40 million to put the system in place and Platini reckons that money would be better spent on grassroots projects.

Of course, he has a point, but these days £40 million wouldn’t buy you a big name striker – so pet’s put things into some perspective Monsieur Platini!

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