The International Football Association Board (IFAB) and FIFA are set to consider allowing trials of an electronic chip which will be added to players’ shirts to help warn of medical problems on the pitch.
The potential move would see chips contained in a shirt’s collar, allowing for data feedback such as heart performance, body temperature and distance covered by the player. The laws of the game currently ban any electronic communication between players and coaching staff in the technical area, but there have been calls to introduce health monitoring devices, following a number of recent high-profile medical incidents on the pitch. Former-professional, Fabrice Muamba, was forced to retire after suffering a near-fatal heart attack during an FA Cup tie between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur in March 2012.
The motion will be brought before the IFAB – which consists of the Football Associations from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and FIFA at its annual meeting on March 3. The IFAB, which determines the laws of the game, will have four votes – one for each of its FAs – while FIFA will also have four votes on whether to allow the trials.
“There is a chip in the shirt at the back of the player’s neck and the data is fed back into a laptop,” Scottish FA chief executive, Stuart Regan, told the Press Association. “These chips can monitor heart performance, distance run, changes in a person’s body functions, and what’s operating differently to how it was in the first-half. We are looking at whether there are medical benefits, such as whether it can warn of problems such as Fabrice Muamba suffered, which would make it a no brainer for this to come in. We are trying to consider whether or not things can make a positive difference in the game rather than just another example of technology being brought in.”