KEIR RADNEDGE in MUNICH: When West Germany won the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 1954 their success was ascribed – apart from minor matters such as three goals from Max Morlock and Helmut Rahn – to the new screw-in studs which enabled them to cope better with the train-sodden pitch in Bern than favourites Hungary.

Football technology has moved on leaps and bounds since such comparatively simplistic days. Free-kick vanishing spray, goal-line technology, video assistance refereeing, player performance trackers and semi-automatic offside systems. Every year elite matches become less a conflict of talent, technique and physique than an open-air video game.

UEFA Euro 2024 is no exception The adidas Fussballl iebematch ball is fitted with a microchip which will tell VAR referees and operators to see exactly when and where it was kicked and whether it even touched a player’s hand. The old concept of a referee’s decision being final will be ever further compromised.

Similar technology was deployed by world governing body FIFA at the World Cup finals in Qatar 20 month ago. Notably it showed that Cristiano Ronaldo – despite his claim at the time – had not made last-moment contact with the ball when Portugal scored a goal against Uruguay. TV audiences were not shown the clip but Euro viewers will be shown on-screen graphics.

In case those fans with tickets feel they are  second-class citizens, graphics are promised on the stadia screens.

Roberto Rosetti, UEFA’s head of referees, told a media briefing: “’Connected ball’ technology means it instantly pinpoints the exact moment the ball is touched in situations when we are not sure if the ball touches the arm or the hand. It can detect if the ball is touched or not.

“The public will watch on the small screen as broadcasters will receive the information. Also, after video assistance, the technical explanation of the decision will be shown on the giant screens in the stadia.”

UEFA will also maintain the club competitions standard with regard to stoppage time. This frees referees from having to add precise time lost to goal celebrations, substitutions, injuries, penalties and red cards. No 100-plus-minute therefore as at the last World Cup and in the English Premier League.