10 Ways Technology Will Change Football in the Next 10 Years

Mark Jones@@Mark_Jones86Featured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2015

10 Ways Technology Will Change Football in the Next 10 Years

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    We've all gotten used to goal-line technology by now. The technological advance that many held back, even dreaded coming into football, has actually proved to be a very welcome addition and has almost seamlessly slipped into the game in a manner that hardly disrupts it at all.

    What will be the next innovations, though? And how will world football look in 2025?

    Here we take a glimpse into the future.

Goal-Line Technology Rolled Out Across All Possible Divisions

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    Surely the most obvious advance in football tech would see the current goal-line technology system being introduced into all possible divisions and at all possible levels?

    Obviously the amateur leagues and the Sunday morning kickarounds are never going to be able to bring it in, but what’s available at the top end of football should also filter lower down, and the cost of implementing the technology should come from the top.

    We all know how much money the executives up there make, of course.

Referring Debateable Decisions to a Video Referee

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Whereas goal-line technology can only deal with matters of fact—i.e. whether or not a goal has been scored or not—our ongoing quest to eradicate wrong decisions in the game is likely to go even further than that.

    In the likes of cricket and rugby unions—two very different sports to football, of course—we see marginal calls “go upstairs,” crucially at the request of the match officials themselves as they seek to gain more help in making a correct decision.

    In those sports, though, the video referee can use the technology to determine decisions which largely only have a two-way outcome, and so referees would have to place an awful lot of trust in the video official to help them make the call should they wish to have them view it from different and multiple angles.

Appealing Debateable Decisions to a Video Referee

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    Video referees should perhaps be contactable in two ways, however, with both the on-pitch officials and managers able to call upon their services.

    As far as the managers are concerned, perhaps the ability to send one decision “upstairs” per match would allow them to feel like they were a little more in control of what was going on down on the pitch, not that one decision will be deemed to be enough for them of course!

Giving Assistant Referees More of a Helping Hand with Prozone

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    Calls from assistant referees, mostly offsides, are perhaps the most hotly debated in football, but asking them to keep up with highly trained and often incredibly quick athletes can often be a thankless task.

    Technology such as Prozone which tracks the position of players on the pitch is available to help coaches and managers analyse matches, so why not bring it in for those whose decisions can often have a huge bearing on the result?

The Rise and Rise of Google Glass

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    We’ve seen sports teams and players—such as the England cricket star Alastair Cook pictured here—using Google Glass to help analyse and develop performance, and this only looks like being a trend which will continue to rise.

    We’re unlikely to ever see a player allowed to use the device on the pitch, of course, but in training it will allow them to prepare for matchdays and perhaps even improve performance based on an acquired knowledge.

Seeing Things from the Referee's Point of View

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    Plenty of other sports such as rugby union, cricket and—as seen here—ice hockey feature the option to see the match from the referee’s point of view, and so perhaps officials could bring that option in for yet another fresh angle on action.

    In addition to just providing something for television viewers to watch, this innovation could aid in making decisions, too, as the video referee would understand at which angle his on-pitch colleague had seen an incident and could therefore come to a better understanding of his decision.

And from the Players' Too

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Would we want to stop at that, though? How about putting tiny cameras on the players' shirts too?

    Wouldn't any viewer like to see Lionel Messi's view as he was faced with an army of defenders trying to (unsuccessfully) close him down? Or run with Cristiano Ronaldo as he broke the offside trap yet again? 

    The "player cam" is likely to be a big hit, and it isn't too unlikely a prospect to consider.

Players Will Embrace the Newest Forms of Social Media

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    Right now it's Twitter and Instagram, but who knows which forms of social media will be big in the years to come?

    What we can be sure of, though, is that footballers will be among the most popular people on those platforms, and so even if it's a hologram version of Neymar beaming out from your phone to tell you that he's happy with Barcelona's latest victory, you can expect to find plenty of entertainment from those who play the beautiful game.

Clubs Will Use Social Media to Make Their Point

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    Football clubs' official social-media accounts are, by and large, pretty professional operations. Their tone is very similar and, while obviously supportive of their own club, they don't quite overstep the mark.

    That can often cut a strange comparison with the clubs themselves, though, and you have to wonder, when managers such as Jose Mourinho are ranting and raving at referees, would a fiercer stance on social media on the club's behalf get better results?

Fans Will Call the Shots from the Stands

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    How long before attending a football match becomes a fully interactive experience?

    Via specialised matchday apps on their phones, supporters attending a stadium could decide on the music they hear pre-match, what food and drinks are available for them and their teams' man of the match.

    Who knows, perhaps we could even see a club go one step further and get fans to decide on tactics or substitutes, thereby putting the manager out of a job entirely?