Eredivisie

Only 0.2% of matches put players at risk of 'close encounter' exposure, study finds

The findings in association with the Dutch FA suggest outdoor sport should be safe enough to return

3:00pm on Sunday 31st May 2020
By
Team FC

Just 0.2% of professional football matches feature 'close encounter' contacts that put players at considerable risk from breaching the WHO guidelines for social distancing, research finds.

A study conducted by the Dutch FA in association, who provided tracking data for 483 Eredivisie matches, in association with sports performance firm Inmotio, analysed over a billion data points to assess the proximity of each player to another.

What they found was that players interacted within the social distancing guidelines of one metre for more than 30 seconds in just 0.2% of cases, and their advice is that this should be a trigger to get football, and other outdoor sports, back in action.

One of the other key findings is that even within the small percentage, removing interaction at goal celebrations and reducing the amount of time jostling at corner kicks can take this number down by another half.

Vincent van Renesse, CEO of Inmotio said of the study: “The research clearly has a global impact, especially now that sports around the globe are slowly starting up again.

"One of the findings is that player couples tend to cluster during moments of set pieces (corners), VAR decisions, celebrations of goals and injury treatments.

"Some of these moments can be reduced or eliminated by setting smart guidelines. Changing goal celebrations can result in up to a 35% reduction in close encounters, whilst reducing the time allowed for taking a corner can result in up to a 45% reduction in mean player pairing exposure."

Data Scientist Floris Goes added: “Close encounters calculate the cumulative distance between player couples. We were able to research over one billion data points in 482 Eredivisie matches over the seasons 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.

"In our research, we’ve focused on quantifying close encounters over multiple distances. The Dutch FA is the first football federation that actively opened their research facilities, with Inmotio as their Innovation Partner.

"The next step is to research the training exercises, which enables us to determine whether we can provide optimized training situations for the Covid-19 period.”

The Dutch FA were one of the first in Europe to cancel the 2019/20 season and have no champion, leading to consternation among the league members.

In France Ligue 1 did similar, with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas currently leading calls to restart the competition.

Latest news

Premier League

Christian Pulisic is emerging as Chelsea's most important attacker

The American suffered a slow start at Stamford Bridge, but is now invaluable to Frank Lampard before new arrivals come

  • 10 hours
Premier League

Revealed: The teams with the most dangerous wages-to-revenue ratio

Clubs are spending a little too much of their earnings on player salaries, with these clubs in most danger of financial difficulty

  • 11 hours
Ligue 1

Rennes pick up Everton target Martin Terrier from Lyon for €12m

The 23-year-old will move to the club who finished fourth in Ligue 1 to qualify for the Champions League

  • 11 hours
Transfers

Thiago Alcantara to Liverpool: Worth it?

The cultured Spanish midfielder has been linked with a move to Anfield - is it a deal that works?

  • 11 hours
Rules

The handball law is ruining football - teams and players need to stand against it

The regression in the regulations are among the most frustrating things in the modern game, but it's unlikely there will be a u-turn

  • 20 hours
Premier League

Man United's record this season before and after Bruno Fernandes

As well as performances clearly being easier on the eye, the facts and figures display a vast impact on the team by the Portuguese

  • 1 day

Most read

Other interesting players

  1. image description Quincy Promes W, AM (L)
    Ajax 81
  2. Feyenoord 80
  3. AZ 78
  4. image description Daley Blind D (CL)
    Ajax 78
  5. image description Oussama Idrissi W, AM (L)
    AZ 78
  6. Ajax 77
  7. image description Donyell Malen S (C), W (L)
    PSV 77
  8. image description Antony AM (R)
    Ajax 76
  9. AZ 76
  10. image description Dušan Tadić S (C), W (L)
    Ajax 75