The 2010 World Cup in South Africa will be filmed using 3D production techniques for the first time ever, it has been announced.

Up to 25 games will be captured using 3D cameras after football's world governing body FIFA signed a media rights agreement with Sony.

Firm plans to run live broadcasts of 3D games have yet to be confirmed, but FIFA has said that it will decide whether to offer the rights "in the coming months". After the event, Sony Pictures Entertainment will act as official producer and distributer of all World Cup 3D films.

"This propels the football fan into a whole new viewing dimension and marks the dawning of a new era in the broadcasting of sport," said FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke.

"We are proud that the FIFA World Cup can serve as a platform for advancing technology and the viewing experience and are truly fortunate to have Sony as a partner in this endeavour."

Sky recently ran trials of 3D filming at the ATP Tennis Finals at the O2 arena by using two independent cameras to record images for the left and right eye to create the required depth.

However, Sony unveiled a new prototype single-lens 3D camera earlier in the year, which it said was specifically suited for capturing sport footage. The camera works by taking a single image and then splitting it with mirrors to record on two separate sensors. It's unclear, though, whether the technology will be ready for use at the World Cup.

The first 3D-ready TV sets are expected to reach the UK market in early 2010 as Sky has pledged to launch a dedicated 3D channel at some point during the year.

Source: various