Chinese Football Association scores a major deal with Newry’s STATSports

5 Nov 2018

Image: Sina

Irish tech key to mission to achieve 50m soccer players in China by 2020.

Newry data firm STATSports has secured a lucrative deal with the Chinese Football Association (CFA).

The landmark deal will see STATSports’ technology play a key role in helping China reach its goal to qualify for, host and win a World Cup within the next 30 years, and to get 50m people in the country playing the sport by 2020.

‘Our Apex device gives the coaches access to real-time data on individual players and the team as a whole during training and matches’

The company will provide its pioneering Apex wearable player tracking system to all national teams within the federation.

Apex of achievement

The company’s Apex technology tracks each athlete’s performance during practice sessions and games, and provides direct and invaluable real-time feedback to coaching staff and players.

It measures and analyses physical attributes of players and can provide details on metrics such as distance covered, speed and acceleration as well as insights on player load and the level of fatigue and injury risk of the athlete.

“We are looking to improve our on-field performance of our national teams,” explained Lido Du, head of national team performance at the CFA. “We identified GPS player tracking technology as a crucial factor in facilitating this improvement.

“We have tested all leading GPS suppliers on the market and we very happy with the overall package offered by STATSports. Their Apex system provided the most accurate data feedback and allows us the most in-depth insights into our athletes’ performance at all levels of the association.

“Big data has become an exceedingly important part of gaining advantage and self-improvement in today’s football world. Tracking data is an inevitable component in it. Now, our teams use [the] Apex system in training daily and even in many official matches which has been a great support to us from many aspects.”

The Chinese deal comes just months after STATSports signed a major deal worth $1.5bn (€1.1bn) with the US Soccer Federation for players to wear its performance data vests. The deal should eventually see 4m registered footballers wearing the Northern Ireland company’s Apex performance technology vests, similar to those used by the game’s top players, within three years.

“This agreement with the Chinese Football Association is another fantastic achievement for STATSports. Chinese football has received a great deal of coverage over the last couple of years and has made significant investments to ensure they can compete at the highest level in years to come,” said STATSports chief global strategist Jarlath Quinn.

“STATSports are delighted to play our part in assisting the CFA to achieve their goals over the coming years and are excited to build on this partnership as the sport continues to grow throughout China.

“Our Apex device gives the coaches access to real-time data on individual players and the team as a whole during training and matches. This means the Chinese Football Association can tailor each training session to ensure that players reach peak condition come match day, giving them the opportunity to perform at their best on the biggest stage.”

With a National Football Plan that aims to have 50m players, 70,000 pitches and 50,000 coaches by 2020, substantial investments are shaping the football landscape and creating opportunities for businesses in football development in China.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years