The FIFA Research Programme is at the forefront of developing validation methods for the latest football technology and of new and existing FIFA Quality Programmes. The programme has created a more suitable platform enabling challenges to be identified and shared within the research community, research to be peer-reviewed and published in relevant scientific journals, and data-driven decisions to be made at key levels in football.

The FIFA Research Programme is FIFA’s platform for researchers and academics to interact with a variety of football stakeholders about real-life challenges and opportunities. The three guiding concepts are:

  1. generation of knowledge in key areas of football;

  2. developing and improving test methods for existing football standards; and

  3. exploring new validation methods for upcoming products and technologies that show potential to improve the game or game experience.

The FIFA Research Programme helps to improve understanding in a large number of areas that can help identify, structure and solve football’s most pressing problems using empirical evidence and scientific principles. To date, the following areas and disciplines have been drawn on, with many more developing or showing promise:

  • Material engineering

  • Mechanical engineering 

  • Computer vision 

  • Data analytics 

  • Computer modelling 

  • Machine learning 

  • Artificial intelligence

  • Biomechanics

  • Injury prevention 

  • Sustainability

How to interact with the FIFA Research Programme

FIFA’s Football Technology & Innovation Subdivision acts as an internal intermediary to consolidate the research needs of different areas and have a structured discourse with academia and research institutes to help improve within those specific areas. 

Furthering knowledge and understanding in key areas of football

Whilst the majority of our research projects result in knowledge and improved understanding of specific topics, not all research has actionable results, such as test methods or validation techniques, but we deem these findings to be of value for informed practitioners and researchers alike, which is why there is a strong push for publication. This area of our work uses research to explore opportunities, challenges and knowledge gaps associated with our game and helps structure future research in this area. The FIFA Topical Collection is an example of the outcome generated over a longer period of time.

The development of new test methods and improvement of existing ones for established quality programmes

The FIFA Quality Programme has developed over 20 test manuals for products, surfaces and technologies used in the game of football since its inception in 1996. Research plays a vital role in ensuring that these manuals improve over time, keeping the products relevant and increasing the standard both at elite and amateur levels. Means of interaction in this field are the presentation of any novel test equipment or method that may help gather results in a simpler, more cost-effective or more reproducible way or find new ways of measuring outputs as a consequence of innovation in product design.

The development of new validation methods for the latest technologies and products in football

The Football Research & Standards Department actively explores new products that can improve the game, such as enhancing VAR technologies, making EPTS technologies more accessible globally or improving the experience for football stakeholders. Within this process, research is needed to help identify the key performance indicators of the innovations, develop methods in which these aspects can be quantified, and finally, define what acceptable measures must be met for the product to be used in football. The newly launched FIFA Innovation Programme allows an exception to this rule as new technologies can be tested in live football events under strict guidelines and with the approval of both FIFA and The IFAB

Research Areas
Projects must contribute to expanding knowledge in an area that leads to an improvement in one of the four defined areas of the game of football:
Game Analysis Technologies
  • Player and ball tracking technology
  • Other technologies & data solutions
VALENCIENNES, FRANCE - JUNE 23: Referee Qin Liang checks the VAR screen during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Round Of 16 match between England and Cameroon at Stade du Hainaut on June 23, 2019 in Valenciennes, France. (Photo by Alex Caparros - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Refereeing Technologies 
  • Virtual Offside Lines
  • Video Assistant Refereeing technology
  • Goal Line Technology
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 19: The Conext 21 Pro Football is seen on the stage prior to the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 Draw on January 19, 2021 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Valeriano Di Domenico - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Football Equipment 
  • Footballs
  • Goals 
  • Wearable technology
Football turf
Playing Surfaces
  • Artificial, natural and hybrid surfaces
  • Futsal surfaces
FIFA Football Technology & Innovation Research Scheme

FIFA launched a contribution scheme for research at the International Sport Engineering Association (ISEA) online conference in June 2020 with the aim of supporting worthwhile projects that will contribute to a better understanding of football...

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