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How Has Technology Changed Football?

March 27, 2023


Football is a game that stretches back millennia. But while the basic rules of the sport have stayed consistent over time, it has evolved as a spectacle in those years. As with all aspects of modern life, technology has played a starring role in that transformation, with new innovations making the game safer, fairer and more enjoyable for all.

In this article, we’ll investigate exactly how the relentless march of technology has affected the beautiful game, both from a player and a spectator perspective. We’ll even touch upon what the future may hold for tech in the sport as we move forwards, as well.

Player safety

The game today is almost unrecognizable from how it was played even as recently as 20 years ago in terms of player safety. That’s because technological advances are now capable of providing managers, coaching staff and their medical teams with a vast amount of information about player health, thus preventing and pre-empting injury.

For example, the design of the ball itself has been improved to make it lighter, more aerodynamic and easier to kick, while the advent of heart-rate monitors, GPS devices and other wearable tech provides reams of data on player movement, fatigue and physical stress levels. Meanwhile, the proliferation of camera angles focusing on every minute of the game makes penalization of fouls simpler for referees – and thus discourages dirty or dangerous play.

Accuracy of decisions

Indeed, the referee is perhaps the individual who has benefited most from modern technology in a footballing sense. Of course, there was a time when the multitude of camera angles only served to expose flaws in his decision-making process, but the introduction of goal-line technology and video-assisted refereeing (VAR) has now harnessed that power for the ref’s advantage.

Today, images of the football’s position and those of the players around it can be captured at a mind-bogglingly rapid rate, then relayed to a command center where other officials can analyze the incident. This equips the referee with the ability to reassess his own decisions and real-time, leading to the detection of errors and more accurate officiating all round.

Fan enjoyment

Last but not least, technology has certainly enhanced the matchday experience for fans. There was a time not too long ago when the only way to watch the big game would be to attend the stadium itself, but now those watching at home can get a better view of the action from the comfort of their armchair.

Add in the multitude of data that is collected about in-game stats, and their enjoyment is only furthered. For many fans, the football season and betting season go hand-in-hand. Technology now allows for the placement of wagers on any number of metrics, as well as in-play betting which gives veteran gamblers the ability to adjust their strategy as the match unfolds.

Technology has certainly altered the course of professional football significantly in the last few decades… but what’s next? Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) both have the potential to enhance the gameday experience even more for the fans, while further tweaks to autonomous officiating systems could make it fairer for all, too.