Intelligent soccer ball at the 2022 World Cup

The matches of the 2022 World Cup have started on 21. November 2022. At least from a technical point of view, there are further innovations in the otherwise rather reserved industry in this respect.

The desire for the most accurate ball tracking possible has existed at least since the "Wembley goal" at the 1966 World Cup, and with today's technology, precise tracking is possible in principle.

Historically, technical innovations in soccer have also been repeatedly supported by patents. The GPTO has a dedicated page "Football and Technology", which can be accessed via the following link:

It is possible to determine the position of the ball on the pitch inductively, optically or with radio waves.  The coverage of the entire playing field with an accuracy in the range of centimeters, requires data processing almost in real time. Exemplary patents are DE 10 2007 046 366 A1 and DE 102 52 934 A1.

In the current model, a sensor is positioned in the center of the ball and is connected to the rubber bladder via cords and suspended therein. The sensor originates from a German start-up and is already being used in the NFL and NBA.

The "intelligent ball" will be used in all World Cup matches. After extensive testing, including at the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup, the sensor system inside the ball will send data every 2ms, even the smallest changes, to an evaluation device to help referees make more informed decisions. This will also support semi-automatic offside technology, which evaluates positional data of the ball as well as image information from twelve different cameras. The technology is not expected to affect players' feel for the ball.

Aside from the hope for optimal refereeing decisions, however, such technology is not immediately available to technology-loving soccer fans. The official World Cup ball will not be available for purchase in retail stores.

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