FIFA and adidas have unveiled the new Al Rihla ball which will be used at this year's World Cup in Qatar.
Translating as 'the journey' in Arabic, the Al Rihla is the 14th successive ball created by adidas for the World Cup and has been designed to be faster than any before it.
With a clear focus on speed, the ball uses two updated technologies in its construction. Firstly, the CRT-CORE heart of the ball, which is designed to maximise air retention and improve speed, accuracy and consistency during games.
That is complimented by the SPEEDSHELL skin - a 20-piece panel shape built to improve the accuracy of the ball and its stability in the air.
“This is a stunning, sustainable and high-quality Official Match Ball from adidas that will be enjoyed by stars performing at the top of their game on the world’s biggest stage in Qatar, as well as grassroots players everywhere,” said Jean-François Pathy, FIFA’s director of marketing.
“Al Rihla’s worldwide journey will represent the incredible reach of the FIFA World Cup and give fans a unique opportunity to engage with the event as excitement builds ahead of the big kick-off.”
As well as speed, the Al Rihla prides itself on sustainability. It is the first World Cup ball to be made exclusively with water-based inks and glues.
“The game is getting faster and, as it speeds up, accuracy and flight stability become critically important,” said Franziska Löffelmann, adidas design director.
“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.”