Changing the game: Diving detection system could transform football

A system similar to the goal line technology that will be used in the upcoming FIFA World Cup could in the future be used in football to determine whether a player has dived.

The practice of diving, where a player intentionally falls in the hope that the referee will think they have been fouled and award their team a penalty or free kick, is common in football.

Attempts have been made by FIFA to stamp out the practice, which is also known as simulation, and the number of yellow cards handed out to players for the offence has increased. However, there is little evidence that diving is any less common than it has been previously.

This could change if research by Dr Peter Weyand, associate professor of applied physiology and biomechanics at Southern Methodist University, Texas, is successful.

yellow-card

Weyland is researching methods to identify the differences between intentional and unintentional falls during sports games, however the sport he is researching for is basketball, where the practice is known as flopping.

A flop is extremely similar to a dive; a player intentionally falls in the hope of getting an official to call a personal foul against his opponent, and attempts have been made to stop the practice, including recently-introduced fines for guilty players.

The research project, entitled ‘The Physics of Flopping: Blowing the Whistle on a Foul Practice’, has received $100,000 of funding from basketball team Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban.

According to Weyland, the research is in progress but has a long way to go before a workable solution can be developed. “We have developed a custom force and motion data acquisition system to specifically investigate the physics involved in flopping,” explained Weyland in an email to Factor.

“The project and line of research is not far enough along at present to fully identify technological options and feasibility.

“Video is the most obvious candidate, wearable motion sensors such as accelerometers would also be theoretically viable, but whether these approaches will have the sensitivity and robustness required is not yet known.”

Weyland does believe, however, that whatever solution is developed will have the potential to be used in football. “The soccer applications should be very similar in viability to those that are potentially usable in basketball,” he said.

basketball-flop

If a solution were to be developed for football, it could have a serious impact not only on the game itself but on how fans watched and enjoyed it. Dives make for excellent post-match discussion points, and offer fans of the losing team an opportunity to claim “we was robbed”. Without them football could lose some of its charm.

Some have also argued that diving plays a positive role. Gary Neville, former Manchester United player-turned Sky Sports pundit famously argued that diving let players flag up fouls that were missed by referees, and so were an essential part of the game.

However, others believe technology can only improve the game. Following the introduction of goal line technology, Arsène Wenger, who has managed English Premier League club Arsenal since 1996, said that he hopes more technology will be introduced to aid referees.


Featured image courtesy of Lario Tus / Shutterstock.com.
Body image 1 courtesy of Natursports / Shutterstock.com.
Body image 2 courtesy of JM Rosenfeld.


Dutch manager Louis van Gaal to use Google Glass and Oculus Rift to help team at World Cup

In a bid to improve their chances at the upcoming football World Cup, the Dutch national team, who are ranked 15th in the world, are using Google Glass and Oculus Rift headsets to improve their performances.

The team, who are managed Louis van Gaal, will be able to re-live situations in virtual-reality, while coaching staff will be able to see static information as they use the technology during the build-up to the competition.

Google Glass recordings will allow Vann Gaal, who is hotly tipped to take over the manager’s job at Manchester United, and his deputies to have an insight into each player’s movements and other actions on the pitch.

It could allow them to see which players are being the most effective and substitute those that aren’t pulling their weight.

The team will also be using the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift virtual reality headset where they can re-live simulations of a game or training situations.

This will include being able to look back at specific actions and experience it from a different perspective – which may be beneficial after the county’s first game of the tournament, which sees them up against reigning champions Spain.

If the technology proves useful to the team, who are outsiders for the competition, then Van Gaal could potentially bring the tech to the training ground when he takes over at Manchester United.


However the Dutch boss won’t be the first in football to use Glass as a coaching device.

Athletico Madrid’s assistant coach German Burgos was posted using the glasses with an application in a match at the beginning of April.

The app which is being used has been built alongside with Spanish footballing authorities.

It shows managers who decide to use it real-time statistics so they are able to monitor their team and the opposition during a match.

Screen shots of the app released by the top-flight Spanish league ‘La Liga’ appear to show the app presenting stats on possession, passes, shots, the number of bookings and more.

Max Reckers KNVB Google Glass

Max Reckers the chief analyst at the Dutch football authority, KNVB, praised the technology and said it will hopefully help the national team at the World Cup.

“Louis van Gaal is known for his progressive approach. That mindset allows us to go further than other teams,” he said. “The deployment of Google Glass and Oculus Rift give us that desired lead.”

The Dutch team’s integration with the technology has been developed technology company Triple IT.

Commercial director Ben van der Burg said it will help players to learn from their mistakes faster.


Images courtesy of Triple IT