After some rigorous testing by the folks at FIFA, the governing body for world football has approved the use of Catapult's wearable tracking tech during competitive matches.
FIFA's International Match Standard (IMS) for Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems (EPTS) deemed that the company's OptimEye (S5, G5, X4) EVO, HPU and its PlayerTek device, as sported by Mohamed Salah above, passed the necessary safety tests and received the necessary certification for players to wear it underneath their shirts come game time.
That means during the World Cup in Russia, teams, including Serbia, Egypt, Sweden, Switzerland and Uruguay, will be able to get the performance data hit and closely monitor events on the pitch. Back in July 2015, FIFA sent out a letter to all major leagues announcing that, if they permitted, teams would be free to use electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS) during games. Now for the first time, it's going to allow the use of these EPTS systems for a World Cup, which kicks off on 14 June.
Catapult's wearable tracking tech will not be alone in monitoring the performance of the players out in Russia, either, with rival STATSports' tracking tech being embraced by the likes of England, Brazil, Germany, Belgium, Poland and Denmark. The difference here is that these wearables will only be permitted for use in training. We imagine it won't be too long though before STATSports get the thumbs up, too, as the systems adopt similar design setups.
The move from FIFA is a positive one and follows the actions from governing bodies of other major sports in their attempts to get to grips with which wearables should be given the green light when you move from training into a competitive match. The NBA, MLB, NFL and even the PGA all have their different regulations, and while some are more accepting of wearables (like the MLB), in game environments others like the NBA, are not.
Getting approval to be used for the World Cup is a big deal, though, and should hopefully open the door for more wearables that give players and coaches useful insights to be embraced by the beautiful game, whether it's for 90 minutes or all the way to those nail-biting penalty shootouts.