Can you wear a smartwatch during a soccer game?

Many people choose to wear a smartwatch while exercising. With it, you can keep track of all sorts of different things. Think about how many calories you consumed, the distance you covered and what your average heart rate was during exercise. But can you wear a smartwatch during soccer games?

Can you wear a smartwatch during a soccer game:
You are not allowed to wear a smartwatch during a soccer game. Wearing it can be dangerous. It could cause a player to hurt and/or injure himself or someone else. In addition, a player could more easily receive information that may be essential to the conduct of the game.

When you read on, we go into more detail on this topic. For example, we explain in depth why it is not allowed to wear a smartwatch, whether you can wear one during training and what the alternative is to wearing a smartwatch.

Can you wear a smartwatch during a soccer game?

Wearing a smartwatch is not allowed for two reasons:

  1. It's dangerous
    Wearing a smartwatch is dangerous. You can injure opposing players, fellow players and yourself. For example, imagine what would happen if someone got the smartwatch's glassware in their face. 

    Further on in this blog, we explain all the injuries and wounds a smartwatch could cause during a soccer game or practice.
  1. It's unfair
    If a player were to wear a smartwatch, he could be provided with important information during the game. For example, think of a goalkeeper receiving information on his smartwatch during a penalty shootout about which corner a player might be shooting at. 

    Of course, a fellow player or the coach from the sideline can also provide a player with information. However, with a smartwatch, the information would reach the player more easily and quickly than if it were shouted at him from the sideline. This is especially true for players who apply far from the sideline where the coach stands. For example, think of a back or a winger.

The official regulations do not explicitly state that wearing a smartwatch is not allowed. 

We are talking about the rules made by the IFAB. IFAB stands for International Football Association Board. This party determines the what the rules are in soccer. 

Section 4.4 Other Equipment states the following:

“Players (including substitutes/substituted and sent-off players) are not permitted to wear or use any form of electronic or communication equipment (except where EPTS is allowed).”

“Where wearable technology (WT) as part of electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS) is used in matches played in an official competition organised under the auspices of FIFA, confederations or national football associations, the competition organiser must ensure that the technology attached to the players' equipment is not dangerous and meets the requirements for wearable EPTS under the FIFA Quality Programme for EPTS .”


So this states that it is not allowed to carry any form of electronic or communication devices except where EPTS is allowed.

What is EPTS?
EPTS stands for Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems. A soccer player wears a special vest (or shirt) that contains a small GPS system. It is worn under the soccer jersey. 

The EPTS system can store a lot of important data. It shows, for example, how many miles a soccer player has covered, what his speeds are, but also where he has run on the field. In addition, the player's heart rate and temperature are also measured. With the data of where a player has run, a heat map can be created. This shows where a player has been the most. 

This data can be used by the trainer and his staff during the development of tactics and such. However, it also keeps an eye on whether the player is fit enough. 

More information about EPTS can be found here.

Why can you wear a GPS performance tracker (EPTS) but not a smartwatch?

The difference between a GPS performance tracker and a smartwatch lies in two things:

  1. You cannot hurt or injure another person with a GPS performance tracker (EPTS).
    A soccer player who plays with a performance tracker wears it in a vest (or shirt) under his soccer jersey. The tracker sits in between the shoulder blades and therefore cannot injure another player or the player wearing it.
  2. The system can only store data and not receive information.
    With a smartwatch, you can easily receive information. This could be used during a soccer match. A performance tracker can only send data. This data is sent to a computer.

    This data can be analyzed at halftime or after the game. Based on this information, a coach can make tactical changes to his game if necessary.

Can you wear a smartwatch during soccer practice?

We now know that you are not allowed to wear a smartwatch during a soccer game. But what about during training sessions? 

It is also not allowed to wear a smartwatch during a training session. However, there are exceptions. 

Because there are many different ways you can train, in some cases it is possible to wear a smartwatch. 

In fact, you can wear a smartwatch when you do individual workouts. Here you do not get in contact with other players and therefore cannot injure or hurt others with your smartwatch. Think for example about fitness training, dribbling with the ball or making slaloms and running moves. 

As soon as you start training with fellow players, you must take off the smartwatch.

What is the alternative to wearing a smartwatch during a soccer game?

So if you would like to collect data about yourself during a soccer game (or training) then you will have to go for an alternative. 

In the intro we already talked about GPS performance trackers (EPTS). These are widely worn by professional soccer players. Fortunately, these systems are also available for amateur soccer players. In fact, you can wear the exact same EPTS that many professional soccer players wear. For example, these are worn by players who play at PSG, Arsenal, Juventus, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and the Brazilian national team. This is the EPTS from the company STATsports.

More information about STATSports' EPTS can be found here.

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What may and may not be worn during a soccer game?

What injuries can you cause when wearing a smartwatch?

If you did wear a smartwatch during a soccer game you could injure or hurt an opponent, fellow player or yourself.

Bruised or broken finger(s)
If a player's finger(s) were to get stuck behind the strap of your smartwatch, there is a chance that they could bruise or even break their fingers. 

When the frame or glassware of the smartwatch collides with you, it can leave you with ugly bruises

Scrapes or cuts
When the glassware crashes into someone and breaks, the person may get cuts or scratches.


Wearing a smartwatch during a soccer game is not allowed because it is unsafe for all players on the field as well as unfair. The latter has to do with the fact that a player wearing a smartwatch could quickly get important information. 

Fortunately, there are alternatives such as a GPS performance tracker (EPTS). This one you wear under your soccer jersey and will not be able to cause injuries or harm to other players or yourself.

February 2, 2023
Published: February 2, 2023