Tablets and headsets are heading towards the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 benches: With the beginning of the 2018-19 season, club staff may use technical aids and electronic communication in the “technical zones” during all matches. Each team is allowed the use of up to three devices for coaching purposes, tactical planning, and to improve medical care of injured players. Sideline staff will also be allowed to access match data collected by the electronic performance and tracking system.
This development was initiated by a global rule change passed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in March. In July, the DFL Board decided to allow these changes on league level as well, following the recommendation by the DFL’s advisory “Football” Commission. Within the parameters outlined by the Board, it is up to each individual team, which of the approved mobile devices they would like to employ and how exactly they intend to incorporate them into their match day procedures.
In case of injuries, mobile communication devices may allow for a faster diagnosis or more effective communication and more succinct decision-making between medical staff treating or examining a player on the pitch and staff at the sideline, so the expected benefits of allowing the use of mobile communication are multiple. Stadiums will ensure that minimum technical requirements including reliable internet access are met in both technical zones. As also agreed in the “Football” Commission, sanctions are to be imposed for use of the technical equipment above and beyond the approved purposes (e.g. complaints directed to the refereeing team with or on the basis of technical aids).
Photo credits: FIFA