London, 12 May 2023.- The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced on the 8th of May that it signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Space Agency (ESA). It is the first partnership dedicated to the exploration of space and a sports organisation. The partnership will enable UEFA to benefit from ESA’s network and expertise to address key challenges and generate new opportunities in football.
The agreement is signed as part of the UEFA Innovation Hub’s mission to foster cross-industrial collaborations with a wide range of stakeholders.
“We are confident that this partnership with ESA will bring incredible value to UEFA. It is a way for us to address some of European football’s key strategic challenges by leveraging the expertise, network and resources of an innovative pioneer like ESA and explore joint collaborations in creating relevant and tangible solutions,” says Andrea Traverso, UEFA director of financial sustainability and research. “This partnership also underlines UEFA’s ambition to nurture new types of co-operations to adapt ourselves even more rapidly in response to our current and future challenges.”
UEFA and ESA will address several topics through this agreement including a pitch mapping tool, crowd management solutions, and sustainability. ESA will bring its expertise to support the UEFA Grow team’s enhancements of UEFA’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) pitch detection tool, based on data and satellite imagery, by sourcing information that will improve the tool as it is developed over time, e.g. socio-economic data, weather data, health data, etc.
ESA will run an open call for technologies on crowd management solutions. The goal is to allow tech providers in the ESA network to provide UEFA with more accurate data on the crowd movement around stadiums, and to allow UEFA to access the historical crowd data in specific venues.
ESA intends to leverage the research they conduct with technology providers from the space industry on the topic of sustainability to explore the potential of those technologies to advance social and environmental solutions across European football.
The partnership between will run until 31 December 2025.