Here’s all the technology being implemented at the FIFA World Cup 2018


Football may be a physical sport, but a lot of technology goes into compiling the viewer experience. From making sure that calls made on the field are as non-controversial as possible, to ensuring that everyone around the world can tune in, technology plays a big part in football today.

The World Cup 2018, in particular, brings in a host of technologies and innovations.

Goal Line Technology


This isn’t something new. In fact, it was one the first technology innovations, introduced back in 2012. There has been one too many arguments about whether or not a goal was actually a goal. Goals are counted when the ball crosses the goal-line, and it’s important to monitor that.

With today’s technology, a signal is sent to the referee’s watch. This can be done using cameras or magnetic fields. For the World Cup 2018,
reports suggest that Russia will be implementing the Hawk-Eye system, which uses camera-based technology to determine whether or not the ball crossed the goal line. The system has 7 cameras per goal, placed as high as possible within the structure of the stadium.


Video Assistant Referee (VAR)


First off, it’s not a single VAR behind the scenes, but a team of 4. There’s a primary VAR, with three assistant VARs (AVAR1, AVAR2 and AVAR3). The team members include top FIFA match officials, but the effort is collaborative.

And no, it’s not automated technology but technology assisted by a four-person squad.

Essentially, the VAR keeps a watch on the main cameras placed on top, while having a quad-split monitor placed below for reviewing incidents on the field.

The AVAR1 is basically the VAR’s right-hand man. When the VAR is checking in on incidents, it’s the AVAR1’s job to focus on the main camera and pass on information about live play.

The AVAR3 firmly focuses on the TV programme feed, but the assistant also has to help with the review of incidents. In addition, the AVAR3 serves as the middleman between the VAR and AVAR2.

Ultra-HD (UHD), High Dynamic Range (HDR) in broadcasting


When broadcasters buy the World Cup 2018 rights from FIFA, they purchase the whole package. Sure, they’ll tailor the coverage as per their ads and add their own commentary, but the actual feed itself, along with the pre-match and post-match coverage, comes from FIFA’s TV division.

This year, the TV division has stepped it up with all 64 of the matches being produced in UHD as well as HD. If you have an HDR television, you can even enjoy the matches in HDR, as long as the broadcaster is providing that service.

There are 12 stadiums in total, and all of them have been equipped with 37 cameras. That’s three more per stadium than the previous World Cup. Eight of those cameras have UHD/HDR output with 1080p/SDR simultaneous feed, while the other 11 are capable of 1080p/HDR and 1080p/SDR output.

Source: FIFA

The primary feeds are supplemented by 8 super slow-motion cameras, a cable camera and a Cineflex Helicam for replays.

And once the quarter-final kicks in, two ultra slow-motion pole-cameras will be introduced into the mix.

Virtual Reality (VR) in broadcasting


The VR product is something that FIFA had been testing for a while and now, and it’s become a commercial reality now. Broadcasters like Telemundo and Fox Sports overseas have signed up for the package that includes a live 180-degree stream for all the matches, as well selected 360-degree clips.

Broadcasters can customise the footage on the basic FIFA app with their own commentary and graphics. The virtual VIP lounge, commissioned specifically for World Cup 2018, is where are all the VOD features are stored.

Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems (EPTS)


The underlying goal of the EPTS system is to help players improve individually as well as work better as a team. There are three ways that the system is implemented.

One, teams can opt for an optical tracking system, which is the most common and simplest to implement. Two, teams can go for the local positioning systems that gives them more measurements and data. Or three, they can use the GPS satellite system that also has a lot of measurements at its disposal, but takes less time than the local positioning system to install while losing accuracy.

Adidas Telstar ball


The World Cup’s official game ball is the
Telstar 18 from Adidas this year. It features a Near-Field-Communication (NFC) chip, located on top of the ball. Yes, it’s a chip similar to the ones that allow for Apple Pay and Google Pay to enable their ‘tap-and-play’ function. So, users can communicate with the ball using their smartphones.



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