World Cup Ball Must Be Charged Before Matches

The Adidas Al Rihla match balls need to be charged before each match to ensure the built-in sensor works as intended.

World Cup Balls Charged Before Each Match

Adidas and FIFA announced months ago that the Al-Rihla World Cup match ball would contain state of the art AI sensor technology to ensure accuracy in refereeing decisions. This was a new advancement in football technology but surprisingly, we didn't hear much about it during the tournament itself until it determined that Portugal's opening goal against Uruguay was scored by Bruno Fernandes and not Cristiano Ronaldo.

World Cup Match Ball to Contain Sensor for AI Refereeing Technology

The ball and the technology inside has been quietly going about its business, but some new info emerged yesterday: the battery powered sensor inside the ball needs to be charged before each match. A fully charged battery lasts for 6 hours of active use, or 18 days when not in use. In a match situation, when a ball goes out of play and is replaced by a different one, the system automatically activates the sensor of the in-play ball without the need for human intervention. Providing they've all been fully charged of course.

While it's not surprising that some kind of power is needed to allow the technology to function, the image of a football plugged in to charge like a mobile phone at the side of the pitch is not something we ever expected to see. Balls have become a lot more technological over the years in terms of the materials used and how they are manufactured, but hooking one up to a power source before a match would not have been our guess on the next natural step in their development.

Looking like a precursor to - or maybe already a component of - the "internet of things", the sensor-fitted ball will not only deliver scientifically proven refereeing decisions, but it will play a significant role in the use of stats and data in football. New metrics are available because of it, adding more dimensions to how football can be analysed and affecting how teams prepare for, and therefore play the game.

Adidas In-Ball Technology Denies Ronaldo Goal, Awards it to Bruno Fernandes

Like it or not, this is the direction football is heading. Are you a fan of the technology? What's your view on the use of stats and data in sports analysis? Let us know in the comments.