Israeli tech gives rowdy soccer fans new online hangout

InPlay app lets Chelsea supporters connect, chat, meet players and get the latest info on their team

InPlay screen shot (Photo credit: Courtesy)
InPlay screen shot (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Israeli-developed sports info app InPlay this week announced that it would work with UK football club Chelsea to customize content and communities for fans, helping them to engage and access more information about their team.

Originally just a messenger app for soccer fans – some have compared it to WhatsApp – the free InPlay (for iOS and Android) now has the elements needed to build a community out of a fan base. With the app, fans can chat among themselves individually or with large groups – up to 100 at a time – privately or publicly, meaning that they can limit their chat to invited guests or let anyone join in.

In addition, users can start fan clubs for specific players, games, etc., as well as receive news updates and feeds about games, teams and players. The stories come from social platforms such as Twitter, Vine and Instagram, and online news sources like CaughtOffside and

InPlay monitors about 2,000 top sources and filters using an advanced algorithm to present the most relevant and engaging content for each user.

Football fans can be rowdy, and InPlay knows who it is dealing with – which is why it treats conversations among users with kid gloves.

InPlay does not monitor chat rooms or fan clubs and enables its users to engage and interact with others in both private and public modes, according to the app’s website.

But this freedom can’t be 100% unrestricted, as it is fundamentally critical to ensure the service is enjoyable, safe and secure for everyone.

“That is why we created this Great Use Policy,” InPlay said. Under the policy, the company asks that users not violate any laws, statutes, regulations, by-laws, mandatory codes of conduct, mandatory guidelines, whether local, national, international or otherwise existing from time to time (applicable laws) or any football regulations.

“Do not infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party. And do not distribute prohibited material,” the policy says.

Under the deal with Chelsea, some of the team’s top players, like Cesar Azpilicueta, will actively promote InPlay. The deal includes marketing cooperation and production of branded digital goods, like stickers and games. InPlay will also host online hangout sessions with some of the club’s players, which selected fans from around the world will be able to attend.

“As true football fans we were frustrated that this huge and exciting community is being underserved when it comes to mobile tools to connect them in a material way,” said InPlay CEO Meni Michaeli.

“We wanted to create the digital form of tribal belonging that fans embrace – being able to chat with friends, to pass on news and rumours, and to make real-life friends. We’re especially excited about the deal with Chelsea FC, which will mean more interaction between fans around the world, and with the club.”

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