Every football player at the 2022 World Cup will be provided with an analytics app to gain insight into personal performance.
Top football clubs are familiar with big data, but some teams lack the budget for analytics and software licensing. Football association FIFA hopes to level the playing field with a free analytics app for every participant in the upcoming world championship.
Big data and pro sports are inextricably linked. Top clubs in the highest leagues use sensors and software to analyze athletes’ performance. The data is used to determine lineups, close transfer deals and optimize training sessions.
Clubs with high budgets have an advantage. Data professionals, hardware and software aren’t cheap. FIFA, the organizer of the FIFA World Cup, wants to prevent inequality during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The players of all 32 teams will have access to an analytics app with insight into their own performance.
Some teams will have little use for the app. Countries with large sponsors have enough funds to hire data professionals and analysts. The app wasn’t designed for them. FIFA launched the project to supplement the data and analytics of teams with limited budgets. Although participants won’t be on completely equal footing, FIFA is trying to level the playing field.
The app provides access to data from FIFA analysts. Players will have insight into metrics such as distance covered, sprints and position distribution for each match. The data is measured in part by video recordings.
“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 Holzmueller, FIFA director of Football Technology & Innovation.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 takes place in a controversial location. FIFA chose Qatar, a country with a rich oil market and poverty-stricken inhabitants. Critics believe Qatar should never have been considered for a World Cup. Western human rights organizations and media believe the government is doing too little to improve the working conditions of migrants.
FIFA was accused of corruption in 2011. The association allegedly chose Qatar as the tournament’s host in exchange for bribes. The allegations were dismissed after an internal investigation, but to this day, several stakeholders maintain that FIFA and Qatar operated unfairly.