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18th Jun 2024

The new ‘Snickometer’ technology making waves at Euro 2024 explained in full

Harry Warner


Howzat! Who thought we’d be talking about cricket at Euro 2024?

With fans bamboozled by the latest piece of technology to enter the fray at Euro 2024 which has already caused major controversy, here’s a full explainer of the new tech, how it works as well as it’s potential implications going forward in Euro 2024.

Those among us who enjoy a little bit of cricket would have been slightly put off by the unexpected appearance of what looked like the endearingly dubbed ‘Snicko’ in Slovakia’s shock 1-0 win over Belgium yesterday.

Somewhat like seeing an auntie down the pub with your mates, it felt like a surreal crossover of worlds that was never meant to happen.

Despite most English fans being acquainted with the technology, it still left plenty of fans bemused by its employment at the Euros.

So, what is this new technology?

Simply put this new technology concerns a (slightly evil) world-wide governing body using microchips to control things and no it’s not the plot of a James Bond film.

‘Snickometer’ is the familiar term given to what is essentially a microchip placed inside of a football that can measure the most minute of changes in the environment around the ball through touch.

FIFA first used chip-in-ball technology to provide data on a ball’s speed, height and curl in the 2018 World Cup. It was not until the 2022 World Cup that the chips were used in tandem with VAR to make semi-automated offside calls.

Now for Euro 2024, alongside limb-tracking technology, match officials will be able to determine whether a handball has been committed in the lead up to a goal.

Whereas the ‘Snickometer’ in Cricket uses microphones in the stumps to listen for small nicks off the bat, the microchip placed inside the ball can measure up to 500 movements per second, meaning even the most minute of touches will be recorded.

This is precisely what happened in Belgium’s stunning loss to Slovakia after Romelu Lukaku thought he had scored the equaliser for the Red Devils, but the goal was ruled out due to Lois Openda being deemed to have committed a handball in the build-up.

While the goal was under review a graphic appeared on screen, reminiscent of a heart rate monitor, that showed a peak confirming Openda’s contact with the ball and therefore flatlining Belgium’s chances of a come back.

The Slovakians went on to win the game and Belgium now sit pointless in Group E.

The technology works, what matters is how it is interpreted

As new technology continues to weave its way into the modern game, once again the surrounding issues become hazy and grey.

Ultimately ‘Snicko’ had only confirmed the incident, while it was the referee who condemned the goal to the catalogue of controversy.

This decision left fans and pundits alike confused, with ITV panellists Ian Wright, Roy Keane and Gary Neville disagreeing strongly on the matter.

Meanwhile Chris Sutton described the call as “scandalous.”

Belgium manager Domenico Tedesco was equally frustrated, but accepted the decision.

He said: “It’s tough for me to speak now. If we would have won, I could probably share my opinion a little more. But we lost and I want to be a good or at least a fair loser.

“We shouldn’t be talking about VAR. We trust these guys, we trust the VAR and the referees and if they blow and say it’s handball we have to trust and accept it and that’s that.”

What does this mean for the rest of Euro 2024

FIFA are known for standing their ground on big decisions, notably rule changes and officiating matters, therefore any backlash is not expected to have an impact on the technology or interpretations surrounding it.

This means fans will have to get used to watching for the line spike on a cardiograph to potentially decide the fate of their nation.

Although for cricket fans the arrival of ‘Snicko’ at football’s highest level is a fun coincidence the overwhelming reaction from fans on social media has been one of a very simple message:

The game’s gone…