UEFA launches tech innovation mission with European Space Agency

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May 9 – UEFA has signed an agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) to share space technology solutions it has developed into the European football ecosystem.

For many fans this will sound like a great way to get rid of their least favourite players or owners. For UEFA it is an opportunity to increase and explore new innovation and how it could be applied to football. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed as part of the UEFA Innovation Hub’s ‘cross-industrial collaboration’ initiative.

“We are confident that this partnership with ESA will bring incredible value to UEFA. It is a way for us to address some of European football’s key strategic challenges by leveraging the expertise, network and resources of an innovative pioneer like ESA and explore joint collaborations in creating relevant and tangible solutions. This partnership also underlines UEFA’s ambition to nurture new types of cooperations to adapt ourselves even more rapidly in response to our current and future challenges,” said Andrea Traverso, UEFA director of financial sustainability and research.

Priority projects for the new alliance were listed as:

  • Pitch Mapping Tool: ​​​​​​

ESA will bring its expertise to support the UEFA Grow team’s enhancements of UEFA’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) pitch detection tool, which is based on data and satellite imagery, by sourcing information that will improve the tool as it is developed over time (e.g. socio-economic data, weather data, health data, etc.). This enhanced tool will cross-reference the presence of football pitches with their positive effects on local communities.

  • Crowd Management Solutions:

ESA will run an open call for technologies on crowd management solutions with the aim of gathering more accurate data on the crowd movement around stadiums, and to allow UEFA to access the historical crowd data in specific venues.

  • Sustainability:

ESA proposes to leverage space industry research on sustainability to explore the potential of those technologies to advance social and environmental solutions across European football.

“We are proud to support UEFA as it introduces space-based innovation to professional football competitions. ESA has a strong track record of fostering innovation and competitiveness in Europe, and this new partnership will enable professional football clubs to tap into ESA’s extensive network of expertise,” said Javier Benedicto, Acting Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA.

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