Why it's time for footballers to use wearable tech on the pitch

During matches, football teams can now use electronic performance and tracking systems. What exactly are these?
These are video-based systems that track player position, and wearable devices that can do the same plus gather extra performance and physiology data, such as heart rate.

Video-based systems have been providing post-match data to managers to inform tactics, and generating statistical analysis for the media, for some time. Teams have also long used wearables in training. We’re now allowing players to wear them during matches providing the devices are safe and the information isn’t received or used in the “technical area”, where the team staff sit during the game.

Why have you decided to allow use of these technologies during games?
Some of these devices are tiny and can be sewn into clothing. We don’t want referees to be in the position of having to try to enforce a ban on technology they can’t see. Also, we have listened to those managers who want to be able to use them to monitor match-day player performance.

Are there potential medical benefits to using the devices?
You might expect that a player who runs 12 miles in a particular game, despite usually running only 10, to be exhausted and prone to injury. We’re trying to find out whether player-tracking can prevent injuries, but so far that’s just speculation. We need to gather more data. If we find out that access to data throughout games can prevent injuries, we’ll be the last people to oppose it.

Why stop staff seeing the data during play …

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