Knowledge improves AC Milan’s game

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 1 July 2004



(2004), "Knowledge improves AC Milan’s game", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Knowledge improves AC Milan’s game

Soccer giant and Champions League winner AC Milan says it has reduced sporting injuries by 90 per cent by introducing a knowledge management system to monitor footballers’ performance.

Since the introduction of the system on a trial basis in 2002, non-match related injuries have been reduced from 41 to three in three years. The club’s medical director suggests that further analysis using neural network technology, which will be rolled out next season, could even help in future team selection.

The knowledge management system, designed by Computer Associates, collates fitness, body composition, mental and dietary information on players, to predict the chances of the player picking up an injury.

The MilanLab system uses a Web portal that links PDAs, gym machines and medical instruments to three predictive analysis servers and knowledge storage systems.

Modelling techniques are then used to help predict ways in which players can improve their diet, training and mental attitude to attain peak performance.

“When I joined the club five years ago there was very little fitness data on current or previous players”, said AC Milan medical co-ordinator Dr Jean-Pierre Meersseman. “I thought that health data on successful past players could help us emulate past victories, but it wasn’t available. Typically, when a coach leaves a club, so does knowledge of the players”.

So, in preparation for the new system, physical, mental and biochemical data were collected on more than 50 first team and youth players during the team’s Champions League winning season last year.

There was some reluctance from players to agreeing to use of the system. The club has had to introduce data privacy agreements to footballers’ contracts before the system could be fully used.

“However, when they realised that it would make them more healthy and prolong their playing career they became much more accepting”, said Daniele Tognaccini, athletic coach at AC Milan. “Now, they see the benefits working through to them”.

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