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Soccer and Technology: How the game has evolved in the last decade

Developments in technology are typically the driving force behind change within an industry – and the sporting world is no different. Soccer has been adapted and reshaped by new technologies on and off the field over the last decade. Not all of these technologies have been well-received by fans, and there is certainly room for improvement.

Read on to uncover the recent biggest technological changes in soccer.

1.​Video Assistant Referee (VAR)

The latest technology to penetrate the game, and arguably the biggest change ever, is Video Assistant Referee (VAR). VAR is another group of referees watching the game using video technology. They can interject and assist the on-field referee for big decisions only, such as offsides, penalty decisions and red cards.

The purpose of VAR was to help referees get more decisions correct and add some consistency to refereeing standards. However, fans have still been left bewildered by some of the VAR decisions made and dislike the interruption it brings to games and the excitement.

2.​In-Play and Cash-Out Premier League Betting

Betting on the Premier League has always been popular in the UK and abroad. Heading to the local betting shop is still part of the occasion for fans on match days. But the modern fan doesn’t need to go to the bookmakers in person. Thanks to mobile betting apps offering the same Premier League odds – if not better – than the bricks and mortar bookmakers, they can place their accumulator with the touch of a button.

Within mobile Premier League betting, in-play betting with a cash-out option has become increasingly popular. Fans can now bet on live football matches from their smartphone and cash-out early to take profits or cut losses. This is all thanks to new speedy tech in the mobile gambling industry.

3.​Goal Line Technology

Goal-line technology has been one of the most celebrated tech achievements in soccer without many grumbles from sections of fans. For seasons, referees were frequently getting goal-line decisions wrong, even in World Cup games and Champions League fixtures – just ask Frank Lampard. There is no doubt that goal-line technology has prevented goals from being given when the ball had not crossed the line and allowed referees to award goals during six-yard box mayhem.

There has been one case of the technology going wrong in the Premier League. Aston Villa got away with one when the camera inside their goal failed to spot keeper Nyland carrying the ball into his own goal.

4.​Performance Analytics

The half-time cigarette was replaced with massages, nutritionists and sports scientists a long time ago. But the attention to details on players’ performance is now at a peak. Elite clubs have data rooms to analyse the performances of every player performance in extreme detail. This is usually carried out with sophisticated computer programmes and football analyst teams that work in partnership with coaches.

Some performance analyst technology comes in the shape of wearable equipment that the players use while training and in games. For example, chest monitors can track heart rate, distances covered and other key data.

What Technology Could Be Next in Soccer?

With some fans and pundits arguing that VAR is not good for the game, new technologies may not be added to the refereeing side of the game in the near future. It is more likely that effort will be put in to perfect the use of VAR than introduce anything else. Any new tech in soccer is more likely to be for fans and to improve their experiences. Some are suggesting virtual reality headsets that enable fans to watch games as though they are in the stadium.

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