On the pitch and in the stands – all EURO 2024 innovations

Innovations, especially technological ones, primarily drive major industries. They are characterized by the presence of significant financial resources. This is also true for football, particularly during major tournaments. According to statista.com, the European football market in the 2021/2022 season was worth €29.5 billion. Simultaneously, the most valuable player, Erling Haaland, a striker for Manchester City, is worth €189.9 million. Where there is money, there are innovations. Both are abundant in this year’s European Championship. Here are all the innovations for EURO 2024:

Technology

Smart Ball

The Adidas ball, named FUSSBALLLIEBE, is equipped with sensors inside. The ball uses technology that Adidas calls Connected Ball. Inside it, there is a suspension system, the central point of which is an IMU (internal measurement unit) motion sensor. This sensor, operating at a frequency of 500 Hz, or 500 times per second, can recognize not only the position of the ball but also the moment it is struck. This is intended to help referees make decisions crucial to the game’s outcome, such as offside calls.

Thanks to the Connected Ball, referees will know precisely when the ball was kicked, allowing them to accurately determine the moment of the pass and any potential offside position. Additionally, FUSSBALLLIEBE will precisely inform referees about the ball crossing the goal line and the necessity of recognizing a goal.

Video Assistant Referee (VAR)

VAR has revolutionized football by providing referees with essential support for making accurate decisions. During Euro 2024, we can expect several improvements in this technology:

  • Faster decision-making
  • More camera angles
  • AI-assisted refereeing

Matches will be broadcasted with the help of 46 cameras, 13 of which will monitor the surroundings of the match while 33 will focus directly on the events on the field. Among these:

  • Eight super-slow-motion cameras with triple speed
  • Two high-speed cameras
  • Two rapid cameras mounted on poles (one at each end of the field)
  • One aerial camera system
  • Two cinematic RF (radio frequency) cameras
  • Two crane cameras with heads behind the goal (one at each end)
  • Eight handheld cameras

Referees will have access to all these cameras, ensuring no detail escapes their attention.

Additionally, each match will be managed by a team consisting of one VAR referee, two VAR assistants (AVAR), and three video operators. This team will work in specially designed VOR (video operations rooms) located in the TECH Hub (Football Technology Center) at the international broadcast center in Leipzig.

Goal Line Technology

The system consists of seven cameras directed at each goal, precisely determining the position of the ball and informing referees whether the ball fully crossed the goal line, indicating a goal should be recognized. This information is transmitted to the referees’ watches within just one second, making the system virtually real-time.

Semi-Automated Offside Technology

SAOT (Semi-Automated Offside Technology) consists of 10 cameras that precisely determine up to 29 different points on each player’s body on the field. Combined with the Adidas Connected Ball technology, this allows for an accurate determination of whether a player was in an offside position at the exact moment of the pass.

Technologies for Teams

Each match, team, and player are analyzed for detailed statistics such as ball possession, number of shots, interception efficiency, and key passes. These data aim to facilitate tactical analysis. UEFA has prepared two devices to record the match’s progress: one placed on the side of the field and the other behind one of the goals. Thanks to these cameras, coaches and selectors will be able to simultaneously observe the position of up to 21 players (20 outfield players and the defending goalkeeper), providing them with a wide viewing angle.

The footage from these cameras, in HD-SDI 1080p50 quality, will be delivered to teams via coaxial cables. Teams must provide their own devices to receive the signal. UEFA allows the use of this footage, but teams must independently ensure access to it. Furthermore, each team can install an additional camera but must organize the cabling themselves.

Fan Support

5G

Euro 2024 stadiums will be equipped with 5G networks, providing seamless connectivity for fans and efficient communication for team operations.

Smart Stadiums

Automatic ticketing systems, crowd management solutions, and interactive fan experiences using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies will be implemented.

Interactive Mobile Apps

Advanced mobile apps will offer features such as:

  • Live commentary
  • Instant replays
  • Integration with social media

Smart Broadcasting

New camera angles, such as drone and player cameras, AR graphics overlaid on the field, and immersive audio will bring viewers closer to the action than ever before.

Environmentally Friendly Stadiums

During Euro 2024, the following will be introduced:

  • Renewable energy sources
  • Energy-efficient lighting
  • Sustainable building materials

Eco-Friendly Seats

The Eintracht Frankfurt stadium, which will host Euro 2024 matches, is equipped with eco-friendly seats from the Polish brand Nowy Styl. Thanks to the partnership between Forum by Nowy Styl and Grupa Azoty Compounding, the seats are made from granules consisting of 80% post-production waste.

EURO 2024

The new technological solutions introduced at Euro 2024 promise to increase refereeing accuracy, improve player performance and safety, and enhance fan experiences. Euro 2024 will be an unforgettable event, and we eagerly await the upcoming matches!