FIFA Player App to track on-field performance at the Qatar World Cup

FIFA Player App

A newly-developed FIFA Player App is set to provide data and insights to all those who take the pitch at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The app is a first in World Cup history, with the never-before-seen technology implemented in line with FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s 2020-2023 Vision of harnessing technology, as well as general feedback from professional footballers themselves who are interested in easy-to-access data from matches.

The data, according to FIFA, outlines the following:

Enhanced football data metrics – calculated from enhanced event data, captured by a team of highly trained FIFA football performance analysts, combined with tracking data. Examples include whether a player made an offer or movement to receive, whether their distribution action broke opposition lines, and the pressure they applied to an opponent in possession of the ball. All metrics are captured against the FIFA Football Language definitions.

Physical performance metrics – collected through a highly accurate in-stadium tracking system consisting of multiple cameras located around the pitch for maximum player coverage. Metrics include distance covered at various speed thresholds, number of actions above 25km/h, and maximum speed, all displayed on positional heat maps.

Enhanced football intelligence metrics – created by the FIFA Football Performance Analysis & Insights team through the development of a series of algorithms and models that operate live to integrate event and tracking data. The new metrics provide innovative and exciting ways to analyse the game, including the phase of play, line-breaking events, receiving locations, and pressure being applied to the player in possession of the ball.

The data runs in sync with match footage, enabling players to dissect all key moments from their own performance. Action photographs will also be provided which the players can save or share on social media.

“For the first time at a FIFA World Cup, not only the participating teams but also all players will have the opportunity to get direct access to their own performance data and the related video clips after each match,” FIFA Director of Football Technology & Innovation, Johannes Holzmüller, said via FIFA.

“This player-centric development is based on direct feedback from the players and is another great example of how FIFA is using technology to the best of its potential by improving the football experience for the key actors on the pitch.”

The FIFA Player App’s debut in Qatar follows a successful trial with players from different teams at the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 and was presented to the FIFA World Cup participating teams during a recent Team Workshop in Doha.

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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania report of AFC Champions League assesses the cost of competition for players and clubs

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania has published a report on key financial findings from the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) flagship club competition, the AFC Champions League (ACL).

The report, AFC Champions League Analysis Report: Counting the cost for players and clubs, was produced alongside sporting intelligence agency Twenty First Group (TFG).

This analysis is in response to the announcement of AFC Champions League Elite (ACLE) commencing in July this year, as revealed by the AFC in December 2022.

Based on TFG’s analysis, insights and feedback from participating players and clubs, the report addresses the feasibility of running ACLE with key factors including on-field quality and competitive balance, attendances and fan engagement, economics for clubs and players, travel and workload, competition design, and football development outcomes.

The research undertaken focusses on the value of introducing ACLE, based on the current operations of the ACL.

“This report analyses the merits and drawbacks of the current AFC Champions League based on various data and the results indicate that the merits do not outweigh the drawbacks for most players and clubs, making it an unsustainable system,” FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Chair Takuya Yamazaki outlines in the report.

“However, this does not mean that the future of football in Asia is bleak. On the contrary, we believe that this economically significant region can lead a discussion for truly sustainable competition formats.”

The report is the most comprehensive public analysis of the ACL and includes recommendations for what the AFC should be implementing.

“For players, the development of competitions is central to their employment conditions and future opportunities. As its primary workforce, the players are determined to play their role to shape a sustainable and innovation-driven future for the football sector in Asia,” Yamazaki added.

World Leagues Forum is involved in representing professional football leagues on a global level. General Secretary Jerome Perlemuter explained that collaboration between all stakeholders in the Asian region would help shape and deliver sustainable competitions.

“FIFPRO’s contribution to shaping the future of Asian continental competitions is most welcome,” Perlemuter said.

“Sustainable football development requires confederations, leagues and players to work together with a common objective to shape high potential continental competitions in a consistent global calendar. In this context, it is important to consider economic, geographical and cultural specificities. We look forward to continuing these discussions with FIFPRO and all stakeholders.”

To see the report in full, you can do so here.

Wellington Phoenix team up with Chinese outfit Tianjin Tiger

Wellington Phoenix have partnered with Chinese Super League team Tianjin Tiger to boost football growth in both nations.

As part of the Wellington Phoenix Tianjin Tiger Sister City Friendship, the clubs have agreed to hold an annual encounter between their men’s first teams.

The inaugural Wellington Phoenix F.C. vs. Tianjin Tiger F.C. Sister City Shield match is set to take place in Tianjin this September, with the second in Wellington next year.

The strategic collaboration was formed after Phoenix general manager David Dome visited Tianjin in September as part of a business delegation headed by Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.

The club hosted a delegation from Tianjin, and the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the Mayor’s office.

Phoenix general manager David Dome was thrilled with the partnership going through.

“The mayoral delegation to China last year was invaluable and I’m thrilled about this partnership with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, which will be of benefit to the club on multiple levels,” he said via press release.

“Not only will the men get to play a Chinese Super League side as part of their A-League pre-season each year, but the academy will soon benefit from an influx of footballers from Tianjin.

“We’re looking to grow our academy to have an international component and Tianjin Jinmen have committed to sending some young players to Wellington to attend training camps in July and we’re discussing the possibility of their juniors being part of a new international academy annual programme.

“International students are essential for the secondary and tertiary education sector in Wellington and we are evaluating how an elite international academy focused on football can be part of New Zealand’s international education offering.”

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau added that the city is excited about the opportunity. 

“I’d like to congratulate David Dome and the wider team for the work they’ve done on this MoU,” he stated via press release.

“I’m beyond stoked that the delegation last September has resulted in this MoU between the Wellington Phoenix and Tianjin Jinmen Tiger. 

“The development opportunities for both the clubs will be invaluable to not only football but also our cities.”

The Phoenix are enjoying a successful A-league campaign where they currently sit top of the table 18 games into the season.

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