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Euro 24: Innovation and Trends in Modern Football

Updated Tuesday, 28 May 2024

As Germany gears up to host the men’s Euros this summer, Steph Doehler explores developments in modern football and their impact on Euro 2024.

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The UEFA European Championships, commonly referred to as ‘the Euros’, stand as one of the most prestigious and eagerly awaited events in men’s international football, celebrating the pinnacle of European talent. As Germany gears up to host the men’s tournament for the second time this summer, football has undergone significant evolution in recent years. Technological advancements and emerging trends are transforming how the game is played and experienced.

The integration of technology into games

One of the most notable and debated changes in football over the past decade has been the integration of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology. First introduced in UEFA competitions during the 2019 Champions League, VAR usage has since expanded to all men’s senior national team and club competitions, as well as the Women’s Champions League and Women’s Euros. While VAR was designed to enhance fair play by allowing referees to review controversial decisions, it has faced widespread criticism. Many argue that it disrupts the flow of the game, leads to inconsistent decision-making, and sometimes creates more confusion and controversy.

VAR in action in the Premier League

To address VAR-related tensions at Euro 2024, UEFA is introducing connected technology into the Adidas Fussballliebe ball (meaning ‘love of football’). This innovation aims to improve the accuracy of semi-automated offside VAR decisions and provide additional tracking data for players. According to UEFA and Adidas, this technology will help VAR officials identify every individual touch of the ball, reducing the time spent resolving handball, offside and penalty incidents.

The most sustainable Euros ever?

Sustainability has become an increasingly critical focus in organising international football tournaments, with the sporting world acknowledging its responsibility to minimise environmental impact. Following the highly contentious Qatar World Cup in 2022, UEFA and Germany have committed to making Euro 2024 the most sustainable football tournament ever. Andreas Schär, managing director of EURO 2024 GmbH (a joint venture between the German FA and UEFA for the organisation of the tournament), stated that sustainability will be ‘part of the tournament’s DNA’.

Since the host selection process began in 2018, sustainability has been a key principle of Euro 2024. This stands in stark contrast to Euro 2020, which took place in 11 different countries and faced criticism for its climate impact due to extensive international travel. Germany’s bid for Euro 2024 focused on a holistic approach to sustainability, including regionalising group games to favour travel by land. Fans will be offered discounted long-distance train tickets and free access to local public transport, encouraging travel by trains, subways, light rail and buses instead of planes and cars. Teams will also be encouraged to travel to group-stage matches by coach or train to reduce the tournament’s carbon footprint.

The Olympic Stadium in Berlin which is one of the hosts for the tournament

Despite ongoing climate concerns, FIFA recently announced that the 2030 World Cup will be played across six countries and three continents. In contrast, Euro 2024’s sustainability focus sets it apart from the growth model of other sporting mega-events.

Collaborative action towards discrimination

Following the racial abuse directed at England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy, a new monitoring and reporting system will be implemented during the 2024 Euros to tackle online abuse. A 2022 study by FIFA and players’ union Fifpro revealed that over 50% of players in the semi-finals and finals of Euro 2020 and the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations experienced online abuse. Time will tell if the new system tackles instances of online abuse towards players effectively. Fans at matches will also be encouraged to participate in anti-discrimination initiatives, with a rapid response mechanism available to assist anyone feeling vulnerable in all stadiums.

England captain Harry Kane wearing the OneLove armband

Following the OneLove armband controversy at the Qatar World Cup, Germany, one of the seven nations initially intending to wear the armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights, is keen to ensure Euro 2024 embraces inclusivity and diversity. Nancy Faeser, the German federal minister of the interior and sports, stated: ‘Euro 2024 is intended to be a football festival for all fans, with a focus on sport and bringing together people from all over Europe. We want to show ourselves as a modern, open country with a diverse society. We want to use football as a unifying force to help combat racism and discrimination in sport as well as in other sectors.’

The ultimate fan experience

Euro 2024 will not only showcase footballing talent but will also redefine the fan experience, both in-stadium and remotely. UEFA’s commitment to creating a cutting-edge tournament began in 2019 when they invited MBA students to develop innovative ways to enhance match-day experiences. The tournament, held across ten world-class stadiums, will feature immersive fan zones in each host city. For instance, Düsseldorf will present ‘Faith. Love. Football’, a play commissioned for Euro 2024, while Berlin plans to establish the world’s largest fan zone at the famous Brandenburg Gate.

For fans unable to attend in person, social media will play a pivotal role in engagement. UEFA and participating teams will utilise platforms like X, Instagram and TikTok to offer behind-the-scenes content, live updates and interactive features. Advertisers will vie for fan attention with live sports data, personalisation, and dynamic real-time content. With 77% of fans engaging in at least one other activity while watching games, such as looking up stats, using social media, or playing fantasy sports, the opportunities for fan engagement have never been greater.


Euro 2024 is poised to further the evolution of international football through technological innovation, sustainability and inclusivity. The integration of VAR and connected ball technology aims to improve game accuracy and fairness, despite ongoing debates. Germany’s commitment to hosting the most sustainable Euros ever, with initiatives like regionalised group games and eco-friendly travel options, sets a new benchmark for future tournaments. Efforts to combat discrimination and enhance the fan experience both in-stadium and online underscore the tournament’s progressive approach. 

As anticipation builds, Euro 2024 promises to be a landmark event, showcasing the best of modern football across Europe.


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