New Global Standard for EPTS

The FIFA Quality Programme for EPTS: how this new global standard helps users of Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems select a provider according to their needs

The growing number of Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems (EPTS) available to end-users, such as competition organisers, club teams or national teams, is making their choice of the best system for their needs and circumstances more complex. The FIFA Quality Programme’s new global standard, offers both guidance to consumers and the possibility for providers to highlight the USPs of their products.

With player data growing in importance in the game of football, Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems are becoming more widespread. To counteract issues that would frequently only appear after a period of use, FIFA is looking to address the major questions that it has observed over the last years: which system is most suitable for a user’s needs and intended purpose? What detail and quality of data does the user require? What format and delay is the data expected to be received in? And: does this data need to be compatible with another system within the clubs or federation? The performance standard for EPTS will help navigate these core questions.

In today’s football environment, Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems can be categorised in two different technologies:

  • wearable technologies that are using either a local positioning system (LPS) or a global positioning system (GPS) in connection with a wearable device worn by the players, and
  • optical technologies (OPT) that are using cameras to track the position of the players.

The expectation towards player tracking data outputs of both types of system is the same which is why the Performance Standard covers identical tests for all EPTS with a primary focus on the metrics of distance covered, instant velocity as well as distance covered and velocities in FIFA’s defined speed zones. Each of these are measured in a stadium environment to ensure eco-validity for the game of football during a defined set of running circuits and small sided games (2v2 and 5v5). The collected data is assessed against the known gold standard motion capture system VICON and is presented in a colour-coded format that indicates the quality of the data output in relation to market standards. The ranges currently defined in the testing protocol are based on the current industry standard and are to be amended as technological development progresses. 

Figure 1 five-level colour coding scale

In addition, product information will be available indicating when the data was submitted (within 1 hour or within 24 hours), what the exact setup of the system was (especially relating to the number of cameras for optical systems) and the firmware and version tested on the day. This information will help end-users in their choice of systems depending on their above-mentioned needs particularly around the issues of real-time data and accurate data in high intensity movements.  

The only additional test required by the Laws of the Game to ensure devices are suitable for use in match is an Impact Test for wearable EPTS that assesses the structural stability of the device worn by the player. 

The Impact and Performance Tests are open to every EPTS provider who aims to offer the end-user an evaluation of their EPTS, which is comparable to other systems on the market. Systems that have been certified will be listed with their test results on www.football-technology.fifa.com. For the detailed process of certification, the figure below.

Figure 2 Testing & Certification process of the FIFA Quality Programme for EPTS