But in recent years, with technology becoming part and parcel of life, football has also slowly accepted the new role innovation can play. We look at the the top three innovations that have changed the face of the game.
|In 2012 the use of Goal-line technology was permitted, and the English Premier League introduced it for all the top flight matches for the 2013/2014 season. Fifa President Sepp Blatter, amongst others, has been a vocal opponent of the use of technology. But the 77-year-old was forced to admit that it was time to take a look at technology to detect goals, after Frank Lampard's effort against Germany at the 2010 World Cup was ruled out despite crossing the line.|
|Referee-Assistant Referee Communication|
|Probably one of the most inconspicuous of introductions to the game, the wireless communication between the referee and his assistants has become a mainstay. A simpler form of the device was first used in the early late 90s and early 2000s with assistant referees using flags with built-in buzzers to signal the referee for infringements. With the evolution of technology, wireless communication devices have also come into play with the referee now being able to speak directly to the two linesmen as well as the fourth official. The device was first widely used at the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Germany.|
|Although nowhere near as extensive in use as most fans have called for or expect it to be, the use of video evidence has been a touchy subject for the administrators of the game. Over time the use of video replays has slowly entered the game but only in instances where the fourth official has spotted and infringement that the referee has not. One of the most prominent uses of the technology, and also the most controversial, was at the 2006 Fifa World Cup Final, when Zinedine Zidane's headbutt on Marco Materazzi was missed by the referee but quickly brought to attention by the fourth official after seeing a video replay. Today video evidence also serves to discipline players who have committed grievous fouls or actions.|
But the technological innovations will not likely end. USA's Major League Soccer has already introduced the use of 'smart jerseys'. These shirts are embedded with a sensor and collect vital information off of a player while he is on the pitch to provide a clearer picture of his physiological status. While not yet still in widespread use outside of North America, the technology could become the new mainstay for the rest of the world.
Another innovation likely to improve gameplay include photochromic lenses. Transitions XTRActive lenses have been built for active lifestyles by being more reactive towards UV rays, making them the darkest Transitions lens available. Match officials, and particularly goalkeepers have often found direct sunlight to be a bane as it interferes with their vision. While some goalkeepers have opted for a modest cap to keep the sunlight out of their eyes, Transitions XTRActive lenses could provide a more efficient option. The use of eyewear accessories is also permitted, with former Dutch international Edgar Davids having famously sported stylish glasses during his playing days. Players can continue to wear the same lenses off the pitch as these lenses provide a comfortable hint of tint that shields the eyes from strain caused by harsh indoor light, commonly found in press conferences. Another added bonus is that Transitions XTRActive lenses can be activated even behind a windscreen, allowing players to quickly and safely drive to and from games without being bombarded by the glares of the sun (and glares of the opposing fans).
To find out more about Transitions XTRActive Lenses, please click here.