managers use it to keep a close eye on their
multi-million pound players, and it’s
helped the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal add
to their silverware. The tracking technology
which gives leading clubs their extra edge
is now being refined by Leeds computer scientists.
Sports performance analysts ProZone has teamed
up with Leeds computer vision researchers
to enhance software which helps managers including
Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho plan tactics
and develop their training to suit players
strengths and weaknesses.
“We applied our advanced image understanding
knowledge to a successful pilot project which
automatically tracked players,” said
Dr Chris Needham from the school of computing.
“We’re now taking the project
a step further to refine the system ready
for kick-off next season.”
software allows the positions of the footballers
to be tracked from a number of views through
video sequences, by modelling the ‘background’
and picking out areas where the colours change
rapidly – the players – as ‘foreground’.
This system is much faster than existing tracking
techniques because it requires minimal manual
intervention from ProZone.
Managers are given statistics – including
how fast a player moves, who passes to whom
and where each player is on the pitch at any
point in the match.
Dr Derek Magee from the school of computing
feels this work has great future potential:
“I am looking forward to continuing
our partnership with ProZone,” he said.
“The company is also funding a project
relating to behaviour modelling and indexing
of team sports, which is an exciting new research
area and could help the football managers
of the future simulate the potential tactics
of their opposition.”
For more information about the
technology behind the system see Dr Needham's
Photo: Tracking team (l-r)
– Dan Hart, Chris Needham and Derek