Football has come a long way since its early days, just like everything else. And given the technologically advanced world we live in, it's poised to feature even more improvements in future.
Over the years, there have been several introductions which have help improve the sport and its officiating. And this list delves into eight such innovations.
8. Video Assistant Referee (VAR)
One of the game's newest innovations has come in the form of the Video Assistant Referee, or VAR. The technology, which enables match officials to make decisions as it relates to goals, penalties and various infringements, will be used at this year's FIFA World Cup.
It has already rolled out in English cup competitions, as well as other leagues around Europe. But the Premier League are planning to begin usage after it's tested more thoroughly next season.
7. Vanishing Spray
Vanishing spray was made popular during the last World Cup, when it was used by the referee in the opening match between Brazil and Croatia. It's basically foam sprayed out of a can to provide a temporary marker for dead-ball situations and the like.
Said spray has actually been around since 2000, when it was developed by Brazilian inventor Heine Allemagne under the name 'Spuni'. It was introduced to the Brazilian Championship a year later after being unanimously approved by referees and has been used in competitions there ever since.
6. Goal-Line Technology
This one has been one of the best, given how troublesome the issue of the ball crossing (or not crossing) the line has been throughout the history of the sport. Debating over whole balls crossing lines in their entirety has become a thing of the past since the introduction of goal-line technology.
Usage of the tech was voted for unanimously by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in July of 2012 and put into the laws of the game, permitting the use, but not making it a requirement. It took a few years for different leagues to implement goal-line tech, but it's used all around now and has done well to eliminate one of football's biggest problems.
5. Referee-Assistant Communication
Communication between referees and their assistants isn't something major and is likely to be one of the more quiet developments.
Back in the late 90's and early 2000's, assistant referees used flags with buzzers to alert the referee when infringements took place, but with the advent of wireless communication technology came a better way.
Refs are now able to speak with all other officials around the pitch, including the two linesmen, when issues need sorting out. It has been a regular part of the game since the 2006 World Cup.
4. Video Evidence
Video evidence has become an important tool for various leagues as it allows ruling bodies to punish players retroactively if they fall afoul of the rules. It only comes into play if the officials on the day miss something, however.
3. Scouting Apps
The use of scouting applications isn't something which was implemented by the football authorities, but it has been another great innovation. Scouts and coaches now have the privilege of using various apps to access pertinent data and key video footage.
It really is something no one would have dreamed about a few decades ago, but coaches and scouts are definitely happy to have such technologies at their fingertips.
2. Smart Balls
The Adidas Telstar 18 - the ball which will be used at the 2018 FIFA World Cup - will have a microchip embedded, but there's not much to get excited over as it's only good for product information and stuff like that.
Other smart balls, such as the Adidas micoach, does allow the measuring of shot power, recording of flight paths and curls.
Basically, those who need to can record a fair amount of data just by how balls are kicked and moved about the pitch during training and match situations.
1. Wearable Technology
Wearable technology and performance tracking was voted in by IFAB back in 2015. The new advent allows tracking of player-specific data, fitness information and can actually help prevent certain health issues players are susceptible to, such as fatigue and even illness.
Of course, there's a bit of an entertainment factor as well, while it could help teams on a tactical level too.