Leading European soccer organizations, including UEFA, Royal Netherlands Football Association, City Football Group, AFC Ajax, and the Johan Cruijff ArenA, have joined forces to tackle the challenges this global pandemic brings for the sport.
With a number of leagues canceled until next season, UEFA Euro 2020 postponed and leagues in England, Spain, Italy and Germany resuming without fans, these organizations call for smart innovations to reimagine soccer in the context of Covid-19.
These include how to keep fans engaged while they cannot visit football stadiums, how to create a safe and engaging environment for fans, players and other personnel in the stadiums and how to enable youth and amateurs to keep playing and enjoying football.
These leading European soccer organizations, united under the flag of ‘Football Innovation Platform’, will focus on cooperating with the broader football community and beyond to find solutions and best practices for the benefit of fans, players, broadcasters, clubs, venues, leagues and associations. The first challenge the Football Innovation Platform has set its sights on is helping football to recover and grow beyond the impact of Covid-19 on football.
This first initiative, called Reimagine Football, will source innovations globally that can contribute to mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on soccer. The most appealing, state-of-the-art concepts will be able to use facilities for trials, implement at not one but multiple organizations and scale to the rest of Europe quickly.
Members of the Football Innovation Platform will be able to independently select and implement new solutions brought forward from the program, and the goal is to offer these new solutions to the football community from 2020 onwards. The sourcing platform is accessible to the football community and beyond to facilitate knowledge sharing and to stimulate cross-industry cooperation.
The Football Innovation Platform has identified four themes in which they will be looking for smart innovations:
At home fans: How can venues engage our fans who can’t be physically present in the stadium and provide added value to our commercial and media partners?
Operational Excellence: How can venues optimize our operations and related security processes in order to continue to maintain a healthy and safe environment and have as many as possible fans in stadia?
Excellent Stadium Experiences: How can venues improve the experience of our visitors before, during and after a match in the stadium, given the Covid-19 constraints?
Amateur & Recreational Football Engagement: What are new ways to increase engagement of our amateur and recreational community (in a healthy and safe environment)?