How FIFA Used Artificial Intelligence in the World Cup

How FIFA Used Artificial Intelligence in the World Cup

Naveen Joshi 07/03/2023
How FIFA Used Artificial Intelligence in the World Cup

Football fans and players are experiencing the magic of artificial intelligence.

From boosting players' performance to post-game analysis, AI in sports is an emerging industry.

AI in sports is no hoax but a reality. The onset of AI and its sub-branches integrated into sports dates back all the way to the 1986 World Cup, where an AI referee was deployed to help declare the correct and accurate verdict. This was done to minimize many incorrectly announced verdicts by referees, which have plagued the industry ever since the existence of sports that raged fans, players and coaches alike. 

In the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the use of AI had increased multifold. Before the start of the World Cup, FIFA declared its intention to use advanced AI technologies to enhance the overall experience for the fans and players and provide data to drive correct analysis within seconds and more. The use of AI in sports is an emerging market taking the world by storm.

AI in sports is used for various reasons, such as increasing performance and announcing correct results. Here are a few ways out of many where FIFA used AI in 2022’s World Cup.


1. Sensor Embedded Football

The football or the Al Rihla ball made by Adidas for FIFA is integrated with motion sensors. The center of the ball is installed with an inertial measurement unit (IMU) which tracks every touchpoint on the ball 500 times per second, providing real-time data to officials in making the right call.

2. FIFA Player App

FIFA has developed an app that will provide tracking data to all players after each match. It collects data from the stadium's optical systems, giving players and performance analysts details on passes, velocity, distance, and more. The data collected and distributed is be synced to a video available for review from various camera angles. Players can also post action pictures from this app on their social media.

3. Video Assistant Referee

One of the most common complaints in FIFA is about the verdicts passed by referees. Therefore, in this World Cup, officials have minimized the errors by using video assistance referees or VAR. The system relies on 12 tracking cameras installed under the stadium’s roof, collecting around 29 data points at 50 times per second on every player's body.

4. Stadium Temperature Control

With the use of AI, Qatar has found a way to control stadium temperature in outdoor stadiums. The country spent billions of dollars building seven air-conditioning open-air stadiums that kept the temperature at 68 degrees Fahrenheit despite the outdoor temperature.

AI is deployed in every industry, and sports are not new to this. In the FIFA World Cup 2022, officials used various sophisticated tools to enhance the entire experience. It allowed for better player performance by providing data access to each player and analyst after every match and also ensured correct calls made by referees. AI in sports is an emerging industry and is spreading rapidly because the benefits offered by it are colossal.

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Naveen Joshi

Tech Expert

Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.

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