The ball for UEFA Euro 2024 will help referees make quicker offside and handball decisions to avoid VAR stoppages. The governing body of the sport in Europe recently unveiled the new Adidas ball for the upcoming tournament. However, more information about the exact technology equipped in the ball is being released.
UEFA is now claiming that the ball, Fussballliebe, will contain “unprecedented insight into every element of the movement of the ball, contributing to the video assistant referee (VAR) decision-making process.” The ball’s name is German for ‘love of football.’
New Adidas ball records exact moment of touching
The technology inside the new Adidas ball knows exactly when a player kicks the ball. This will help VAR officials determine the exact moment when a player makes a pass when identifying offside decisions. It could also aid referees in figuring out if the ball hits a player’s hand during play.
High-tech cameras in place will also further help referees in VAR-related incidents. Along with the new soccer ball, some of these cameras inside the stadiums will speed up video replay with semi-automated offside technology. This innovation is currently in place in other UEFA competitions such as the Champions League and Italy’s Serie A.
“Combining player position data with artificial intelligence (AI), the innovation contributes to UEFA’s semi-automated offside technology and will be key to supporting faster in-match decisions,” UEFA said in a recent statement.
“The technology can also help VAR officials to identify every individual touch of the ball, further reducing time spent resolving handball and penalty incidents.”
Euro 2024 starts June 14. Host Germany faces Scotland in the opening match. The tournament is among the most premier international soccer competitions in the world. The top 24 European national teams will battle it out for the crown as the best squad on the continent.
Premier League, Nike should take notice of technology
Criticism of VAR has been rampant across the game in recent months, but perhaps particularly in the Premier League. The English top flight has seen a series of blunders throughout the current campaign regarding refereeing. Notable humiliating incidents for the league include a wrongly-disallowed goal for Liverpool in September. Last month, Newcastle picked up three points in a controversial win versus Arsenal.
Implementing a similar Euro 2024 ball and semi-automated offside technology in the Premier League should be the division’s top priority. Clubs previously voted against introducing semi-automated offside technology ahead of the current campaign. Nevertheless, they may not have had much of a real choice in the matter.
The Premier League has a soccer ball agreement with Nike. The American sports company does not currently have a ball that the English clubs are happy with when it comes to technology. In fact, Nike has yet to even test a product similar to Adidas’ Fussballliebe.
While VAR in England has certainly received heat, implementing good technology will help speed up the replay process. Many fans and pundits are partially against VAR due to the excess time it takes to review incidents. The technology will also take some of the human error out of the plethora of officiating mistakes as well.
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