Goal-line technology comes to soccer – what’s next?

The approval of the use of goal-line technology by FIFA’s International Football Association Board is a historic event in the evolution of the sport whose consequences may not be apparent over the near- or medium-term. First, the facts of the matter: the IFAB, which approves all changes to the Laws of the Game, unanimously approved […] Read more ›

Another article on the EPL stats revolution

Moneyball, the movie, premieres in Britain this weekend and there will be a private advance screening at Prozone tonight. As part of the advance preparation for the premiere here is an article from the Daily Mail on the impact that Opta and Prozone’s data has had on how we understand the Premier League and assess talent, as well as the overall impact of the statistical revolution in professional soccer. Hat tip to Opta’s corporate Twitter feed. Read more ›

Beyond the Pitch podcast with Opta Sports

There is an informative interview on the Beyond the Pitch website with John Coulson and Duncan Alexander of Opta Sports about the collection of data in football and its growing use in the sport. Anto (the host), John, and Duncan talk for about 30 minutes on Opta’s growth in the football industry, its data collection process, and the current state of soccer analytics and the transition from data to actionable intelligence. It’s worth a listen. Read more ›

Proprietary data problem: not just limited to soccer

I’ve blogged on a couple of occasions about the issue of in-match data in soccer that is collected by sports data companies and considered proprietary information. It presents a complication in soccer analytics because of the traditional lack of statistics surrounding the game. American sports have more historical team and player data of individual matches than other sports, but even so they provide an incomplete picture of what happened. This is especially true in complex invasion sports like American football or basketball. In today’s Wall Street Journal there is an article on a specific camera feed in the NFL –… Read more ›

The challenges of goal-line technology

The current issue of IEEE Spectrum has an article on the current state of goal-line technology and the chances of a system being adopted by FIFA in the next two years. Nine companies will participate in FIFA’s first round of testing in December, and a select group will be invited for a further round of tests in the spring of 2012. FIFA could then choose a winner or decide not to proceed further, and given Sepp Blatter’s and Michel Platini’s pronouncements on video technology the second option is a strong possibility. The technical challenges according to FIFA are to (1)… Read more ›

Potential functions and soccer

D. R. Brillinger, "A Potential Function Approach to the Flow of Play in Soccer", Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, 3(1): Article 3, 2007. [Link] How does one describe mathematically the run of play in a soccer match? In this paper, the author proposes a scalar potential to describe in time and space the sequence of passes that led to Argentina’s goal against Serbia & Montenegro at the 2006 World Cup. The end result is a simulation that shows in a broad sense the evolution of the play from midfield toward goal. It is proposed that this approach has applications… Read more ›

Another opportunity for soccer analytics

On the heels of the Opta announcement is another opportunity for soccer analytics people that I found out about at the SSAC today. There is a startup called StatDNA that has devoted a lot of time to collect in-match data and develop statistical measurements that generate information from those data. They are organizing a contest in which they are opening up a substantial portion of their dataset — first- and second-division soccer matches in Brazil (the national championship, not the state tournaments) and the English Premier League — to analysts for research purposes. There are some procedures that you have… Read more ›