Adidas announces that the Official Match Ball of the World Cup™ 2022 will feature new connected ball technology, which will be used to enhance the VAR system by providing an unprecedented level of data and information to match officials for making faster and more accurate decisions on the biggest stage of all.
Following its reveal in March this year, Al Rihla will be the first World Cup Official Match Ball to feature this innovation, providing precise ball data, which will be made available to Video Match Officials in real time. Combined with player position data and by applying artificial intelligence, the innovative connected ball technology contributes to FIFA’s semi-automated offside and offers Video Assistant Referees instantaneous information to help optimize decision making.
A new adidas Suspension System in the center of the ball hosts and stabilizes a 500Hz inertial measurement unit (IMU) motion sensor, which provides unprecedented insight into every element of the movement of the ball, while making this unnoticeable for players and not affecting its performance whatsoever. The sensor is powered by a rechargeable battery, which can be charged by induction.
This new technology developed in close collaboration with FIFA and KINEXON, leaders in state-of-the-art sensor network and edge computing, enables the Video Match Officials to review live data for the first time by automatically providing very accurate information, 500 times per second, on when a player has touched the ball.
It will help inform offside situations as well as assist in detecting unclear touches thereby ultimately improving the quality and speed of VAR decision-making process.
The connected ball technology has been rigorously and robustly tested with a number of professional and grassroots football clubs around the world (including blind testing), namely at the FIFA Arab Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup 2021 in Abu Dhabi, with no perceived change to performance.