Does technology ruin football? Or does it help to create a fair backdrop to the game?

These were the questions flying around last season when the Premier League introduced VAR for the first time. Its introduction sparked national debate, which continues to this day, that the use of a video referee was the first step of a downward spiral of technological takeovers.

While the influence of technology in football remains a hugely controversial subject, Humza Teherany, Chief Technology and Digital Officer at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), believes that it can be of great benefit to the sports industry.

He told UCFB: “Every single pro team has an Athlete Management System (AMS), so we feel if there is a platform around sports performance that we can provide that helps to collect, to display and to calculate different things, different teams might be able to use them for what they deem to be performance enhancers.”

While this may seem insignificant to the game and fans at present, it could have a phenomenal impact on the future of the sport. The introduction of further technology and data science will lead to increased control over both individual players and the game itself.

Humza said: “In two years, every team in every league in the world will be using computer vision, artificial intelligence. I think they’ll be a concept of a data scout, where players are scouted from across the world.”

YouTube video

He added: “I actually think this will make sports that much more competitive, and much harder to get an edge, because while athlete performance continues to increase, you’re pretty much at par when you get to the pros.”

Crucially, this will take every player to the height of their game, maximising individual abilities through scientific analysis of performances. There will be a reduction in the competitive differentiation of top players, which could serve the Premier League, with its unique strength-in-depth, particularly well.

But it’s not just the players who will be affected by these technological advancements, but the fans too. Humza said: “We will continue a world where you will be able to watch sport no matter where you are. I think you’ll be able to drop a hologram on your dash in your car and watch a game, with 5G and those kind of supporting technologies here now.”

Maybe technology isn’t so bad after all!