Ball (association football)

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Adidas Telstar-style ball, with the familiar black and white spherical truncated icosahedron pattern, introduced in 1970 Football Pallo valmiina-cropped.jpg
Adidas Telstar-style ball, with the familiar black and white spherical truncated icosahedron pattern, introduced in 1970

A football, soccer ball, football ball, or association footballball is the ball used in the sport of association football. The name of the ball varies according to whether the sport is called "football", "soccer", or "association football". The ball's spherical shape, as well as its size, weight, and material composition, are specified by Law 2 of the Laws of the Game maintained by the International Football Association Board. Additional, more stringent standards are specified by FIFA and subordinate governing bodies for the balls used in the competitions they sanction.

Contents

Early footballs began as animal bladders or stomachs that would easily fall apart if kicked too much. Improvements became possible in the 19th century with the introduction of rubber and discoveries of vulcanization by Charles Goodyear. The modern 32-panel ball design was developed in 1962 by Eigil Nielsen, and technological research continues today to develop footballs with improved performance. The 32-panel ball design was soon overcome by 24-panel balls as well as 42-panel balls, both of which improved performance compared to before, in 2007.[ citation needed ]

A black-and-white patterned spherical truncated icosahedron design, brought to prominence by the Adidas Telstar, has become a symbol of the sport. [1] Many different designs of balls exist, varying both in appearance and physical characteristics. [2]

History

First years of football codes

Early football ball (with its leather lace) used in the 1930 FIFA World Cup Final 1930 World Cup Final Ball Uruguay.jpg
Early football ball (with its leather lace) used in the 1930 FIFA World Cup Final
Leather ball used in the football tournament at the 1936 Summer Olympics Fussball 1936.jpg
Leather ball used in the football tournament at the 1936 Summer Olympics

In the year 1863, the first specifications for footballs were laid down by the Football Association. Previous to this, footballs were made out of inflated animal bladder, with later leather coverings to help footballs maintain their shapes. [3] In 1872 the specifications were revised, and these rules have been left essentially unchanged as defined by the International Football Association Board. Differences in footballs created since this rule came into effect have been to do with the material used in their creation.

Footballs have gone through a dramatic change over time. During medieval times balls were normally made from an outer shell of leather filled with cork shavings. [4] Another method of creating a ball was using animal bladders for the inside of the ball making it inflatable. However, these two styles of creating footballs made it easy for the ball to puncture and were inadequate for kicking. It was not until the 19th century that footballs developed into what a football looks like today.

Vulcanisation

In 1838, Charles Goodyear introduced vulcanized rubber, which dramatically improved the football. [5] Vulcanisation is the treatment of rubber to give it certain qualities such as strength, elasticity, and resistance to solvents. Vulcanisation of rubber also helps the football resist moderate heat and cold. Vulcanisation helped create inflatable bladders that pressurize the outer panel arrangement of the football. Charles Goodyear's innovation increased the bounce ability of the ball and made it easier to kick. Most balls of this time had tanned leather with eighteen sections stitched together. These were arranged in six panels of three strips each. [6] [7]

Reasons for improvement

During the 1900s, footballs were made out of leather with a lace of the same material (known as tiento in Spanish) used to stitch the panels. Although leather was perfect for bouncing and kicking the ball, when heading the football (hitting it with the player's head) it was usually painful. This problem was most probably due to water absorption of the leather from rain, which caused a considerable increase in weight, causing head or neck injury. By around 2017, this had also been associated with dementia in former players. [8] Another problem of early footballs was that they deteriorated quickly, as the leather used in manufacturing the footballs varied in thickness and in quality. [6]

The ball without the leather lace was developed and patented by Romano Polo, Antonio Tossolini and Juan Valbonesi in 1931 in Bell Ville, Córdoba Province, Argentina. [9] [10] This innovative ball (named Superball) was adopted by the Argentine Football Association as the official ball for its competitions since 1932. [11]

Present developments

Adidas Torfabrik football used in the Bundesliga in 2011 Torfabrik 02.jpg
Adidas Torfabrik football used in the Bundesliga in 2011

Elements of the football that today are tested are the deformation of the football when it is kicked or when the ball hits a surface. Two styles of footballs have been tested by the Sports Technology Research Group of Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering in Loughborough University; these two models are called the Basic FE model and the Developed FE model of the football. The basic model considered the ball as being a spherical shell with isotropic material properties. The developed model also used isotropic material properties but included an additional stiffer stitching seam region.

Manufacturers are experimenting with microchips and even cameras embedded inside the ball. The microchip technology was considered for the goal-line technology. The 2018 World Cup in Russia ball had an embedded chip which did not provide any measurements, but provided 'user experience' by interaction on user smartphone after connecting with the ball via NFC connection. Since 2017 American football league is already using chips in their balls that measure live speed and flight data. [12] [13] [14]

Future developments

Companies such as Umbro, Mitre, Adidas, Nike, Select and Puma are releasing footballs made out of new materials which are intended to provide more accurate flight and more power to be transferred to the football. [15] [16]

Specification

Construction

Today's footballs are much more complex than past footballs. Most modern footballs consist of twelve regular pentagonal and twenty regular hexagonal panels positioned in a truncated icosahedron spherical geometry. [4] Some premium-grade 32-panel balls use non-regular polygons to give a closer approximation to sphericality. [17] The inside of the football is made up of a latex or butyl rubber bladder which enables the football to be pressurised. The ball's outside is made of leather, synthetic leather, polyurethane or PVC panels. The surface can be textured, weaved or embossed for greater control and touch. The panel pairs are either machine-stitched, hand-stitched or thermo-bonded (glued and bonded by heat) along the edge. [5] To prevent water absorption balls may be specially coated, or the stitches bonded with glue. The size of a football is roughly 22 cm (8.66 inches) in diameter for a regulation size 5 ball. Rules state that a size 5 ball must be 68 to 70 cm (27 to 28 in) in circumference. [18] Averaging that to 69 cm (27 in) and then dividing by π gives about 22 cm (8.7 in) for a diameter.

Size and weight

Regulation size and weight for a soccer ball is a circumference of 68–70 cm (27–28 in) and a weight of between 410–450 g (14–16 oz). The ball should be inflated to a pressure of 0.6 and 1.1 bars (8.7 and 16.0 psi) at sea level. [19] This is known as "Size 5". Smaller balls, sizes 1, 3 and 4 are also produced. These are designed for younger players or as training tools. [19]

Types of ball

There are a number of different types of football balls depending on the match and turf including training footballs, match footballs, professional match footballs, beach footballs, street footballs, indoor footballs, turf balls, futsal footballs and mini/skills footballs. [20]

A professional/premium match soccer ball. Adidas MLS Tango 12 soccer ball.jpg
A professional/premium match soccer ball.

Suppliers

Many companies throughout the world produce footballs. The earliest balls were made by local suppliers where the game was played. It is estimated that 55% of all footballs are made in Sialkot, Pakistan, with other major producers being China and India. [21]

As a response to the problems with the balls in the 1962 FIFA World Cup, Adidas created the Adidas Santiago [22] – this led to Adidas winning the contract to supply the match balls for all official FIFA and UEFA matches, which they have held since the 1970s, and also for the Olympic Games. [23] They also supply the ball for the UEFA Champions League which is called the Adidas Finale.

FIFA World Cup

In early FIFA World Cups, match balls were mostly provided by the hosts from local suppliers. Records indicate a variety of models being used within individual tournaments and even, on some occasions, individual games. Over time, FIFA took more control over the choice of ball used. Since 1970 Adidas have supplied official match balls for every tournament. [24]

League balls

The following lists the most up-to-date balls used in various club football competitions (as of 2021-22 season):

Unicode

The association football symbol ( U+26BDSOCCER BALL (HTML ⚽)) was introduced by computing standard Unicode. [27] The symbol was representable in HTML as ⚽ or ⚽.[ citation needed ] The addition of this symbol follows a 2008 proposal by Karl Pentzlin. [28]

See also

Related Research Articles

Ball Round object

A ball is a round object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch or juggling. Balls made from hard-wearing materials are used in engineering applications to provide very low friction bearings, known as ball bearings. Black-powder weapons use stone and metal balls as projectiles.

A football is a ball inflated with air that is used to play one of the various sports known as football. In these games, with some exceptions, goals or points are scored only when the ball enters one of two designated goal-scoring areas; football games involve the two teams each trying to move the ball in opposite directions along the field of play.

Tennis ball Ball used in the sport of tennis

A tennis ball is a ball designed for the sport of tennis. Tennis balls are fluorescent yellow in organised competitions, but in recreational play can be virtually any color. Tennis balls are covered in a fibrous felt which modifies their aerodynamic properties, and each has a white curvilinear oval covering it.

Football boot Footwear worn when playing association football

Football boots, called cleats or soccer shoes in North America, are an item of footwear worn when playing association football. Those designed for grass pitches have studs on the outsole to aid grip. From simple and humble beginnings football boots have come a long way and today find themselves subject to much research, development, sponsorship and marketing at the heart of a multi-national global industry. Modern "boots" are no longer truly boots in that they do not cover the ankle - like most other types of specialist athletic footwear, their basic design and appearance has converged with that of sneakers since the 1960s.

Rugby ball

A rugby ball is an elongated ellipsoidal ball used in rugby football. Its measurements and weight are specified by World Rugby and the Rugby League International Federation, the governing bodies for both codes, rugby union and rugby league respectively.

Adidas Teamgeist

The Adidas +Teamgeist is a football made by Adidas and developed jointly with Molten Corporation. It was the official match ball for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The plus sign in its name was introduced for trademark purposes, since the regular German word Teamgeist, meaning "team spirit", could not be trademarked.

Sherrin

Sherrin is a brand of football used in Australian rules football and is the official ball of the Australian Football League, designed to its official specifications. It was the first ball designed specifically for the sport.

Adidas Finale

The Adidas Finale is a brand of football made by Adidas. It is the current official football of the UEFA Champions League, after Adidas took over the contract of official supplier from Nike in 2000. The internal and external design of the ball changes reflecting improvements to football technologies taken from other Adidas-produced footballs. The external design is the "Starball" based on the stars of the UEFA Champions League logo. Each year's ball keeps the branding name of Adidas Finale, excepting suffixes to designate the year.

Adidas Tango

The Adidas Tango is a successful family and brand of association football balls originally introduced as the "Tango Durlast" in 1978, specifically for the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina. Variations of the design had been produced for various competitions including the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA European Championship, and the football competition of the Summer Olympics. The Tango balls have had different names applied to them to distinguish them in their construction, the competitions they have been used for, and even if they are official match balls or replica balls.

Adidas Telstar

Telstar is a football made by Adidas. The 32-panel design of the ball, based on the work of Eigil Nielsen, has become the standard design now used to portray a football in different media.

Adidas Roteiro

Adidas Roteiro is a football made by German company Adidas. It was the official match ball of the UEFA Euro 2004 in Portugal and later, was the official match ball for the 2004 AFC Asian Cup held a month later in China. "Roteiro" means "road map" or "navigation chart" in Portuguese and was a reference to the discoveries made by the Portuguese in the 15th and 16th century, in particular Vasco da Gama. It is made by Adidas and it was presented on 1 December 2003 in Zabol.

Adidas Predator Range of football boots

Adidas Predator are a range of Football boots developed by German sportswear manufacturers Adidas, introduced in 1994. Predator are based on a prototype concept from the Australian former footballer Craig Johnston. The common feature of the Predator range is the presence of rubber patches or strips on the top of the shoe, designed to increase friction between the boot and the ball. In late 2010, Adidas designed the new "Power-spine" technology, which they claim improves shot power by reducing the amount the foot bends back as it kicks the ball.

Basketball (ball) Inflated ball used for basketball games

A basketball is a spherical ball used in basketball games. Basketballs usually range in size from very small promotional items that are only a few inches in diameter to extra large balls nearly 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter used in training exercises. For example, a youth basketball could be 27 inches (69 cm) in circumference, while a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's ball would be a maximum of 30 inches (76 cm) and an NCAA women's ball would be a maximum of 29 inches (74 cm). The standard for a basketball in the National Basketball Association (NBA) is 29.5 inches (75 cm) in circumference and for the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), a maximum circumference of 29 inches (74 cm). High school and junior leagues normally use NCAA, NBA or WNBA sized balls.

Richard Lindon

Richard Lindon was an English leatherworker who was instrumental in the development of the modern-day rugby ball by advancing the craft for ball, rubber bladder, and air pump.

Adidas Jabulani Ball

The Jabulani is a football manufactured by Adidas. It was the official match ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Adidas Tango 12

The Adidas Tango 12 was the official match association football of the UEFA Euro 2012, with variants being used for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The ball is named after the original and successful Adidas Tango family of footballs from the late 1970s, but the construction of the Tango 12 is completely different. Variations of the ball have been used in other contemporary competitions including the Africa Cup of Nations and the Summer Olympics – Adidas has not categorised these football as the "Adidas Tango 12" family, however they are listed here due to their similar design.

Adidas Brazuca Official ball of 2014 FIFA World Cup

The Adidas Brazuca was the official match ball of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which was held in Brazil. It is designed by the company Adidas, a FIFA Partner and FIFA World Cup official match ball supplier since 1970.

Comparison of association football and rugby union

Comparison of association football (football/soccer) and rugby union (rugby/rugger) is possible because of the games' similarities and shared origins.

Ball (gridiron football)

In Canada and the United States, a football is a ball, roughly in the form of a prolate spheroid, used in the context of playing gridiron football. Footballs are often made of cow hide leather, as such a material is required in professional and collegiate football. Footballs used in recreation, and in organized youth leagues, may be made of rubber or plastic materials.

Adidas Telstar 18

The Adidas Telstar 18 was the official match ball of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which was held in the Russian Federation. It was designed by the company Adidas, a FIFA Partner and FIFA World Cup official match ball supplier since 1970, and based on the concept of the first Adidas's World Cup match ball. The manufacturer of the ball was Forward Sports, a sports equipment supplier based in Sialkot, Pakistan.

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