Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Electronic Chip Which Could Put An End To Diving Football Cheats

Could the patented Natural Motion Response Recognition System (NMRRS™) finally clean up the game of football?

Diving, or simulation if you wish to be use the more popular term of the moment, seems to be unfortunately becoming a more and more integral part of the modern game with every passing season.  No longer can we claim it to be a disease restricted to ‘those cheating foreigners’.  It seems that FIFA, UEFA and football fans alike have reached the point of simply accepting that cheating will always be an unfortunate part of the modern game which we will never be able to entirely eradicate.

Simulation could soon become a thing of the past,
thanks to the patented NMRRS™.
However, that might all be about to change if Professor Ray Oxley and his team of kinetics experts prove successful in their efforts to have their latest technological development accepted into the game.  Ray, who heads the Ergonomics And Kinetics Research Department at the Melbourne University Of Sports Science, has been working on the development of a simple electronic chip insert incorporating motion sensor technology. 

This chip can easily be attached to the inner lining of any football boot and is programmed to recognise the subtle differences between the motion of a genuine foul induced fall and a fake simulated dive.

So far Ray and his team claim to have achieved a successful detection rate of around ninety percent accuracy, but Ray is confident that by early 2016 his team will have the last few blips ironed out and will have a system which is capable of the standards of accuracy required for use on a professional basis.

The technology, known as Natural Motion Response Recognition System (or NMRRS™ for short), has been developed over a period of eighteen months by recording the natural motion of a player who falls to the ground as a result of a genuine foul, and then similarly building up a database of the various simulated motions of induced dives.  The end result is that the system has a database of thousands of examples to draw upon when comparing any future falls or dives and is therefore able to make an accurate analysis of the legitimacy of any fall or dive.

Melbourne University Of Sports Science
“At the moment it’s just a question of building up the data,” Ray explained. “The NMRRS™ system is effectively a self-learning system. What this means is that the more legitimate tackles, clear fouls and simulated dives the system experiences, the more accurate it becomes.  As its reservoir of data increases, the accuracy of the judgement calls it makes also increases.” So to sum it up in a nutshell, the longer the system is in existence, the more reliable it becomes.

The only serious problem Ray foresees with the actual operation of the system itself is with those grey areas where you can show an incident to ten different people and get ten different opinions.  For example a case where perhaps a very minor infringement at best has taken place, but the ‘impeded’ player has used his natural body weight to transform it into something more.  One solution to this scenario would be for NMRRS™ to notify the officials only when a clear cut dive is identified.  Whilst not ideal, this would at least be a step in the right direction against the cheating disease which plagues the modern game.

Beyond this the most obvious problem facing NMRRS™ on an implementational level is of course the fact that certain players would no doubt be reluctant to utilise such technology … for obvious reasons.  A diving cheat is hardly likely to be willing to expose himself to detection.  So if the system ever gets Australian FA or FIFA approval then it seems likely that it is only the honest players who would be willing to wear footwear fitted with NMRRS™.  On the face of it, this would of course appear to be self defeating.

Ray argues, however, that even if the system had only a limited uptake, the introduction of NMRRS™ would nevertheless still be beneficial to those players who chose to utilise it.

“If an honest player chose to play with NMRSS™ technology integrated into his footwear then it would still provide the officials with a tool to recognise when the player in question had been genuinely fouled, so it would unquestionably be in the interests of honest players to wear footwear that incorporated NMRRS™.”

Jane Wainwright, putting the wider
interests of football before profit.
Jane Wainwright, the Marketing Director for Melbourne University Of Sports Science claims they are already in advanced negotiations with several sports footwear companies with regard to licensing deals.  The only stumbling block at present seems to be that the most serious sports companies appear to be keen to license the technology on an exclusive basis, something which Jane stresses they are reluctant to agree to at this stage.

“While the financial benefits of an exclusive agreement are obvious,” she explains, “in pure sporting terms that is not something which we are looking to pursue at this stage in negotiations.  Due to the abundance of personal sponsorship deals and contracts which footballers are tied into nowadays, if one company were to get the exclusive rights to NMRRS™ then the chances of a universal uptake throughout the game would effectively become nil.  So for sporting reasons we would ideally prefer to see NMRSS™ licensed to a wider range of companies in order to maintain the possibility of a more widespread integration into the professional game.”

The fact that several sports footwear companies are interested in the technology is encouraging in itself, and you can perhaps see why so many of them would be keen to pursue an exclusive agreement, as the chance to be recognised by future generations as the company that played a major part in cleaning up the modern game is one which would have massive appeal from a marketing point of view.

So onto the all-important question.  What do the powers that be make of it all?  Encouragingly, the Australian FA have already made positive noises, although whether FIFA will show a similar level of interest remains to be seen.  Sadly, given their current track record with regard to the use of technology in football, it seems likely that they may also show some reluctance, or at best tardiness, towards the introduction of NMRRS,™ at least for the immediate future.

Tom Witherford, forthright in his views.
Tom Witherford, a research assistant on the NMRRS™ program, put it more succinctly, “There’s more chance of Sepp Blatter doing cartwheels on the moon than there is of FIFA giving their approval for a system like this, so I don’t foresee it receiving immediate approval for introduction into the game.  However, as was demonstrated with the eventual greenlight for goal-line technology, the united voices of football fans the world over can be a powerful force for change, so if simulation continues to remain such a hot topic then who knows what the future holds.”

One thing is certain.  Those in the corridors of footballing power need to do something about the rampant disease of cheating plaguing the modern game, and it would appear that in the form of NMRRS™, Professor Ray Oxley and his team of forward-thinking scientists, may finally have provided them with that solution.

Scroll down the page for more information on how to lend your voice to the campaign to get NMRRS™ introduced into the professional game by FIFA, or to add a comment...

Please note, the Natural Motion Response Recognition System doesn’t actually exist. This story is not real and is entirely made up.

This story was written by Charles Fudgemuffin, author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books.  As an introductory offer, you can currently download the first book in the series for free from the following link:
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