Victoria University (VU) is the first university in the world to become an official FIFA Research Institute for Football Technology as the global governing body for international football strengthens its support of cutting-edge innovation and technology.
VU first collaborated with FIFA in 2016 when it developed an innovative international standard for FIFA’s quality program to assess the accuracy of Electronic Performance Tracking Systems (EPTS). FIFA first allowed EPTS in 2015 and clubs have increasingly used them to track player performance and movement.
The project drew on VU’s expertise in biomechanics, exercise physiology and data analytics, as well as the University’s work on wearable technologies with the Western Bulldogs AFL Club.
VU researchers impressed FIFA during a five-hour meeting in Zurich with their plans to test a range of EPTS during actual games, and compare them to VICON, an independent gold-standard motion-capture system that provides precise, three-dimensional measurements of people or objects.
Professor Rob Aughey remembers his team completing a 10-page response to FIFA’s questions about their proposal on the plane home “to show them as researchers, we could be quick, agile and responsive.”
VU is now a FIFA-Accredited test institute and runs annual tests for FIFA on the many models of EPTS.
Tech validation adds value to Qatar contest
VU’s other previously conducted validation testing will ensure that the semi-automated offside technology FIFA recently approved for offside calls will deliver accurate, quick, and clear decisions in the world’s biggest football contest now in Qatar.
“This development enhances the integrity of the game and is an example of an excellent application of technology to assist and support referee decisions,” Professor Aughey said.
VU is increasingly strengthening its collaboration with FIFA, including by providing VU data collected over the past six years for other research projects, he said.
“It’s really exciting that we are expanding our collaboration in a much deeper and more meaningful way with one of the biggest brands in the world.”
To become an official FIFA Research Institute, organisations must have a minimum of five years collaboration with FIFA’s Football Technology and Innovation division, among other eligibility criteria.