Planet Football partner accepted into FIFA Innovation Programme
Planet Football’s wearable technology partner Playermaker have had their boot-mounted device accepted into FIFA’s new Innovation Programme.
Playermaker’s award-winning technology allows clubs to track not only their players’ physical data but also collect key technical performance indicators via foot-to-ball interactions.
We first wrote about the technology back in 2019, and our own Mark Holmes recently wore their tracker aimed at individuals, the UNO, to see just how far off professional standard he is. Spoiler: it’s very far.
And now FIFA have followed in our trailblazing path by announcing Playermaker as one of only three inaugural members of its Innovation Programme.
The device specifically addresses the challenge that FIFA has identified with performance technologies. Until now, the most common electronic tracking and performance system used has been the back-mounted GPS solution, which provides a solid baseline of measurement but doesn’t thoroughly capture the action of the feet.
Playermaker’s technology transforms any football boot into a connected solution and has already been tested and proven by more than 150 of the top elite academies and teams globally. And Arsene Wenger is an operating partner of the company, having personally invested in it in 2019. As far as endorsements of products go, that’s a pretty damn good one.
Indeed, our man Mark was blown away by the insight the UNO provided him as an amateur footballer: number of possessions, left and right-foot touches, releases by foot, time spent on ball and much more, all benchmarked against professional players.
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Perhaps Playermaker’s best use, though, is for coaches as a player development tool. At the end of each session with the device, data is uploaded to the cloud for coaches to easily access, allowing them to better understand player performance and inform decision making.
Announcing Playermaker into the Innovation Programme, FIFA said: “Playermaker designed a foot-mounted IMU device worn by many players in training. Unlike back-mounted wearables, this product enables further-reaching insights into performance and medical disciplines due to the position on the boot generating data on the lower limbs.
“It shows promise to being a cost-efficient alternative for individual and team data collection and in simplifying analysis, thus contributing to making tracking technologies available across more levels of football. As the device is worn over the shoe, it is currently incompatible with permitted equipment in the Laws of the Game.
“The current project therefore aims to demonstrate the value of Playermaker to coaching staff in-game through a controlled experiment in collaboration with the FA. If proven to add value the technology will even the path for the device to be granted approval for certification under the FIFA Quality Programme for Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems.”
Guy Aharon, CEO and co-founder of Playermaker, added: “We are thrilled to be the first foot-mounted wearable device to carry with pride the FIFA Innovation Programme mark. This is a huge milestone both for Playermaker and for technology in professional sport, paving the way for connected foot mounted wearable sensors to be the gold standard of player development technology around the world.
“We thank FIFA for its support and innovation in making this possible, it is fantastic to see this esteemed organisation committing and investing in integrated technological advances.”