With the World Cup draw on Friday, the official match ball debuted for fans.
Called ‘Al Rihla’, the World Cup 2022 official match ball is the 14th-consecutive ball designed by Adidas for the World Cup. Adidas specifically designed this ball to match the modern speed of the game. In fact, the company and FIFA claim it travels faster in the air than any ball in the tournament’s history.
Of course, prior iterations of Adidas’s ball caused fits for goalkeepers. Specifically, back in 2010, the Jabulani traveled wildly throughout the air, causing criticism even before the tournament.
However, Adidas claims that rigorous testing using data from the inside out in wind tunnels and on the pitch went into this ball. Therefore, Al Rihla provides teh highest levels of accuracy and reliability on the field of play.
Franziska Löffelmann, the Design Director – Football Graphics & Hardwear at Adidas, played a big role in the ball’s design. He says that ball flight and path consistency are increasingly important as soccer continues to get faster.
“The new design allows the ball to maintain a significantly higher speed as it journeys through the air. For the biggest global stage in all of sport, we set out to make the impossible possible with radical innovation by creating the fastest and most accurate FIFA World Cup ball to date.”
Attribute that to its design. At the heart of the ball is a CRT-Core. This provides the speed, accuracy and consistency for play at the World Cup. Then, on the outside, the Speedshell has a new 20-panel design to improve flight stability and swerve. The factors in use are macro- and microtextures as well as surface debossing.
Official World Cup match ball ‘Al Rihla’
In Arabic, ‘Al Rihla’ means ‘the journey.’ The design of the ball features inspiration from Qatar and the surrounding area. This includes the flag, culture, architecture and even the famous boats from the country. The official World Cup ball for Qatar 2022 features vibrant colors that stand out against the ‘pearlescent’ background of the ball.
Plus, Adidas and FIFA designed the ball with sustainability in mind. This is the first World Cup ball to be designed exclusively with water-based inks and glues.
The ball debuts in public as part of its journey across ten of the world’s biggest cities. Outside of Doha, which hosts the majority of the competition’s games, the match ball also travels to Dubai, Tokyo, Mexico City and New York. Also included in the public debut are World Cup legends Iker Casillas and Kaká, together with representatives of the sport from Qatar.
As part of the ball’s debut trip, Adidas is rolling out initiatives to improve the accessibility and inclusion of the sport as a whole. Equity in the sport among local communities is just one of the goals for Adidas on this trip around the world.
For the World Cup, ‘Al Rihla makes its in-game debut on Monday, November 21. Qatar opens the tournament at 5 a.m. ET.
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