World Cup 2010: did altitude affect tactics?

Ok, I admit it – I’m a stats nerd.  I love nothing better than perusing the league tables in the back pages of the Sunday papers, so imagine my delight when Prozone offered me the chance to analyse their data from the 48 games of the Group Stages of the 2010 World Cup. In a […]

FIFA on the line: the case for video technology

Come on FIFA – get a grip! A clear refereeing mistake like the one that denied the goal by Lampard (see the video if you missed it) must surely give the ruling body of international football the courage to implement video technology.  Poor rules lead to poor decisions and in the case of goal line […]

Jabulani, a ball in crisis? -Update!

Update! It seems that everyone has something to say about the Jabulani. As the official ball for the 2010 World Cup, it has a lot to live up to, but seems to be attracting more criticism than jubilation. It is now a World Cup tradition that the new ball should be roundly slated before the […]

Is it really possible to engineer the perfect football?

On 4th December 2009 the new ball for the World Cup in South Africa was unveiled. The product of years of research and development, the ‘Jabulani‘ was the most highly engineered football the world had ever seen. Prior to the launch adidas had even gone to the extent of testing the ball in the Bundesliga, […]

Does altitude affect football tactics?

Last November, I proposed that for this Summer’s world Cup Altitude will be key, the thinner air in Johannesburg will cause the ball to behave significantly differently than at sea level. Less air resistance means faster shots and straighter trajectories. As part of a feature for the New Scientist (p35-37, June 5th 2010) we created […]

Get rid of referees!

A hundred years after the first football rules were set, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) met (on 6th March 2010) to discuss a number of footballing issues; these included the role of the 4th official and a “discussion on the latest developments concerning goal line technology”. FIFA dismissed the concept of goal line technology […]

Main Dieu! – Thierry Henry’s hand ball

We couldn’t let this one pass, even Radio 4’s Any Questions? had something to say. On Tuesday evening I gave a small lecture about the role of technology in Sport, I used Diego Maradonna’s famous Hand of God as a case study; should football utilise technology to assist referees? I hope the students marvelled at […]