Electronic tagging to ensure fairer games

ELECTRONICALLY tagging footballers could help ensure fairer decisions on the pitch, it was claimed yesterday.

Scientists at Bath University are devising a system they say could revolutionise refereeing and training.

It would also give television viewers access to real-time information from live games, they claim. Engineers at the university are working on technology which involves radio transmissions and movement analysis.

The idea is for each player and the ball to carry a tag with a unique electronic signature. A network of transmitters and receivers around the pitch would track the movements of up to 40 players, plus the ball.

"You could see how fast someone is running, how much ground they are covering and what they are doing in relation to the rest of the team," Professor Alan Bramley, the project co-ordinator, said.

However, football authorities appear less than enthusiastic about the innovation. A spokeswoman for the Football Association said: "Tags would not be permitted under current rules and regulations."

Current analysis of play elements, such as a player’s position, speed, distance covered and height jumped, relies on watching video clips - often after the event is over.

Mr Bramley told the Engineer magazine that such analysis was time-consuming and had limited accuracy.

The tags could quickly display information about players’ position and movement on screen, he said.

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