The 2022 FIFA World Cup has been touted to be the most technologically advanced edition of the competition, with both FIFA and the Local Organising Committee of Qatar making great strides to provide all the stakeholders of the competition with the best conditions for excellent performances.
While the state-of-the-art stadiums provide the best setting for fans to enjoy the 64 matches and the connectivity helps fans and players like to not miss a moment despite being away from home, FIFA has also turned their faces to the main actors of the competition, the players, who now have a perfect ecosystem to analyse their performances one simple touch away.
For the first time ever, the 830 players that are on the pitch at the World Cup will have access to enhanced data and metrics captured both by a team of FIFA experts and the sensors the players themselves are wearing through the FIFA Player App, which is used for the first time in the competition at Qatar 2022.
According to FIFA, the app was based on input from professional players, in collaboration with FIFPRO, the global representative of professional footballers, through a survey that concluded that the players themselves are interested in their performance, requesting easier access to the data points set on the pitch.
The FIFA Player App will provide the opportunity for each player to access their individual player-performance data shortly after each match, with plenty of data that can be analysed to improve the performance in the next matches.
“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. 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,” said Johannes Holzmüller, the FIFA Director of Football Technology & Innovation.
The app is part of FIFA’s Vision 2020-2023, which aims to use technology to improve the game, shaping the way people think about the sport and presenting a wide array of possibilities, with the aim of improving the game on and off the pitch.
The data collected from the players includes three main pillars – enhanced football metrics, physical performance metrics, and enhanced football intelligence metrics – which combined offer a unique perspective of what a player does on the pitch and what can be improved.
The enhanced football metrics are calculated from each game captured by a team of highly trained FIFA football performance analysts, combined with tracking data. Every moment is highly scrutinized by the analysts, including players making runs between the opposing lines, signalling an opportunity to receive the ball, or if their distribution action broke opposition lines.
Physical performance metrics are collected through a highly accurate in-stadium tracking system consisting of multiple cameras located around the pitch for maximum player coverage and include heatmaps, the maximum speed during a sprint, or every action where a player had a speed over 25 km/h.
Last, but not least, the enhanced football intelligence metrics is an algorithm created by the FIFA Football Performance Analysis & Insights team that operates live, overviewing including the phase of play, line-breaking events, receiving locations, and pressure being applied to the player in possession of the ball.
This data is then synchronized with match footage to enable players to watch all key moments of their own performance in detail, using different camera angles.
The FIFA Player App was successfully trialed with players from different teams at the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 and was presented to the FIFA World Cup participating teams during the recent Team Workshop in Doha in July.
All the players at Qatar 2022 received an individual player card which includes a QR code to download the app. Just minutes after the final whistle, players have the opportunity to access their individual performance data and the respective footage from the match. Teams have access to the collected event data set via the FIFA Football Data Platform. The information and footage may only be used by the participating teams for performance analysis and match preparation.
However, the fans will not be able to download the app or use it, as the data is strictly restricted to the players involved in the competition.