The tech being used at the World Cup in Qatar


The global sports bonanza has begun. Millions are tuning in at home, while others are braving the heat to watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar in person.

With the attention on Doha comes a lot of worries: fans are likely to complain about botched calls. Stadium officials hope to minimize crowds. There is concern about overheating. Government officials will prioritize public safety.

In return, Qatar bans the sale of alcohol in World Cup stadiums

Technology will be part of the answer. Officials rely on sophisticated tools to control almost every aspect of matches: from the balls being kicked around to the thousands of cameras tracking almost every movement of fans and players.

Here is a look at the innovations used.

The official match ball, made by Adidas, will have motion sensors inside. The sensor will report accurate location data on the ball 500 times per second, according to the company, helping referees make more accurate decisions.

The sensor-filled ball has been road-tested at several football tournaments leading up to the main event, including the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup, and did not affect player performance, Adidas said.

The ball will be used in all 64 games of the tournament, returning information to a data nerve center that officials can use to track statistics and monitor game progress.

Fox’s World Cup coverage of Qatar has a notable sponsor: Qatar

A staple of watching a football game is complaining about the calls.

But in this tournament, officials will try to minimize controversy by deploying video assistant referees that use algorithms and data points to help on-field referees make accurate decisions, FIFA officials said.

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The technology was tested at the 2018 World Cup and improved for this year’s games.

The system will rely on tracking cameras mounted under the stadium roofs to track the sensor-filled ball and up to 29 data points on each player’s body 50 times per second, FIFA officials added.

The data points tracking players’ limbs and the position of the ball are fed into an artificial intelligence system that helps referees take accurate penalty kicks, e.g. B. who is offside.

An automatic alert will ping match officials in a video ops room, who will then validate the decision before informing the referee, they said.

The heat was always a problem. Although it’s not scorching summer temperatures, temperatures in Qatar could get sweltering next month.

The officials rely on an advanced cooling system. According to FIFA, it was designed by a Qatari professor, Saud Abdulaziz Abdul Ghani, often referred to as “Dr. Cool.” Air will be drawn in through ducts and vents at the stadium, cooled, filtered and pushed out again. It will create a cool bubble in the stadium where sensors will help regulate temperatures, match officials told news outlets.

Insulation and a tech-enhanced method called “spot cooling” — which allows cooling only where people are — keep the stadiums between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Making a World Cup jersey

Qatari command and control centers will rely on more than 15,000 cameras to track people’s movements during the games, Qatari officials told Agence France-Presse in August.

The cameras will be distributed across all eight stadiums. The Lusail Stadium, which seats more than 80,000 people and will host the final, will use facial recognition technology to track fans, according to Al Jazeera, raising privacy concerns.

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Tim Ream, USMNT’s “grandfather” at 35, has never given up on his World Cup dream

In addition, algorithms are to be used to try to prevent mass panic in the stadium, for example at a football game in Indonesia last month that killed more than 130 people, news reports show.

According to news reports, the command-and-control team will be able to predict crowd patterns using algorithms that rely on multiple data points, including ticket sales and places where people are entering.

The Alan Turing Institute in the UK has developed an algorithm to predict which team is most likely to win the World Cup.

Their algorithm is based on an earlier algorithm called AIrsenal, which they developed in 2018 to play Fantasy Premier League, institute officials said.

They relied on a dataset from GitHub, a computer code sharing and collaboration site that tracked the results of every international soccer game since 1872, they said. Their model gave more weight to World Cup games and recently played games.

They ran the model 100,000 times.

The forecasts according to the institute: Brazil has a chance of winning of around 25 percent; Belgium has about an 18 percent chance; Argentina came to just under 15 percent.