Technology Aims to Enhance the FIFA World Cup Experience
FIFA World Cup 2018: Soccer in the Digital Age

As 2018 FIFA World Cup inches closer, the excitement surrounding the event has reached its peak. The 21st edition of the greatest sporting spectacle on earth, hosted for the first time in Russia, is all set to entertain fans worldwide and establish soccermania across the globe. The organizers of the event have also stepped up their game by incorporating various technological aspects into it, in an attempt to ensure fair decisions during matches and increase the overall user experience of the games itself.

After the implementation of goal-line technology in the previous World Cup, this year’s edition kicks it up a notch by consolidating the Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) into matches. The previous decade have seen several important decisions being wrongly given by the referee, leading to outcry among fans and the teams involved. For the past 18 months, the VAR technology has been tested across several European leagues, and is ready to take the grand stage at this year’s World Cup. The technology reviews four situations: goals, penalties, red cards and cases of mistaken identity. Who could forget Frank Lampard’s ghost goal in the 2010 World Cup, when a clear goal was not awarded to England at a crucial time during the match, leading to their 1-4 defeat in the hands of Germany. Such incidences had become a common occurrence across all European leagues, forcing the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to implement goal-line technology in Brazil 2014 and now VAR in Russia 2018. All the 32 teams and their fans hope that major decisions, that can change the outcome of the game, will be accurately awarded.

In addition to technology being implemented at matches, global broadcasters like FOX Sports and Univision are all set to revolutionize how soccer is normally viewed on television. FOX Sports invested $425 million for the next two editions of the world cup, and is set to use modern robotic cameras, automated cranes and augmented reality graphics to bring an unparalleled match experience to your television.

Other than tele-broadcast, FIFA is also set to bring the passion and intensity of the game across multiple digital platforms. The organization is set to launch its own interactive app, FIFA Digital, for the world cup. FIFA Digital provides real-time updates on teams – including exclusive content about players and their pre and post-match interviews. FIFA will also be operating a live blog for each match that tries to capture every aspect of the game – including match highlights and goals.

The 2018 World Cup has been marred by controversies as well – from allegations of corruption in the bidding process, the negative involvement of Russia in global politics to Russian fans indulging in several racist activities. Despite all of this, the excitement surrounding the world cup hasn’t seen any form of plunge. As fans soar into Russia to witness teams battle it out to win the most coveted prize in soccerdom, organizers have used technology not only to ensure that previous mistakes doesn’t happen but also give their fans the latest interactive platform to participate in it.