Football (sports equipment)

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Honeycomb football

The football is the game apparatus of the same team sport football .


Truncated icosahedron and classic football

In pre-Christian times in China people played with leather balls filled with feathers and animal hair. The first footballs were made of various materials and scraps of fabric and were held together by nets. The air-filled ball was invented there between the years 220 and 680.

In 1920 Fritz Stöcklein invented the cordless VAU-DE-Es soccer ball with a check valve in Schweinfurt .

Then in the 1930s the Argentines invented the bladder with a valve. The disadvantage of the untreated leather was that it became soaked with water when it rained, which made it heavier. It was only through impregnation that this effect was reduced. At the Football World Cup in Switzerland in 1954, a match ball made of tanned (tanned or old-tanned leather is the name for raw leather, predominantly tanned with oak and spruce bark in the pit), was used instead of greased cowhide with a thickness of 1.8 millimeters , which was 21.5 centimeters in diameter.

Until the late 1960s, the soccer ball consisted of sewn leather strips (usually six groups of two or three adjacent strips) and was filled with a pig's bladder. This was originally tied together at the top so that the air could not escape.

At the soccer World Cup in Mexico in 1970, a ball with pentagons and hexagons was introduced. The Telstar Durlast was the first official ball of a soccer World Cup, at previous World Cups the host always decided on the play equipment. The soccer ball, consisting of 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons , developed into a quasi-standard worldwide . From a geometrical point of view, such a football is a truncated icosahedron , i.e. a completely symmetrical icosahedron , the twelve corners of which have been leveled to form pentagons.

At the 1986 World Cup, a football that was fully synthetic and thus largely insensitive to moisture was used for the first time . Today, high-quality balls are no longer sewn, but glued to prevent the influence of moisture.

Shape and dimensions

According to the rules of the World Football Association (FIFA), football is legal if it

  • is spherical,
  • is made of a suitable material,
  • has a circumference of at least 68 cm and at most 70 cm,
  • has a weight of at least 410 grams but not more than 450 grams at the start of the game and
  • is filled with an overpressure of 0.6 to 1.1 bar.

This corresponds to ball size 5, which is generally used in men's professional sports.

In the lower leagues, the game balls are determined at the district level, the recommendations of the DFB are not binding.

The recommendation of the German Football Association (DFB) provides for the following balls for the age groups of small-field / youth games:

G juniors
Size 3 (290 g) Ø 19.10 cm
F juniors
Size 3/4 (290 g) Ø 19.10 cm / 21.01 cm
Size 4 (290 g / 350 g) Ø 21.01 cm
D juniors
Size 4/5 (350 g) Ø 21.01 cm / 22.28 cm

The recommendation of the DFB is not binding for its individual regional associations and is therefore handled differently. The West German Football Association (WDFV), as a regional association, has made it mandatory for its three state associations for G / F juniors size 3 (290 g) and E / D juniors size 4 (350 g) from July 1, 2017.

Soccer balls in size 1 (diameter approx. 14.5 cm / circumference approx. 45 cm) and size 2 (circumference approx. 46 to 48 cm, weight approx. 225 g) are rarely used in official sports and are more likely to be used in private recreational sports.


Usually footballs today have a light, mostly white basic color. A classic football also has black spots. If there is snow on the lawn in winter, so-called winter balls or snowballs are used, which have an orange-red basic color to create a contrast to the surroundings.

The first white ball used in football is believed to have been used in Brazil in the early 1930s, in a game between São Paulo da Floresta and CR Vasco da Gama . The game was played late in the evening. The players had difficulty seeing the ball, which was usually brown at the time. Joaquim Gomes Simon got a can of paint and painted the ball white.


Classic footballs are made by hand as follows:

  1. On the back of the leather, PVC is glued in individual strips with a lining made of several layers of cotton and polyester fabric. This stabilizes the ball and keeps its shape.
  2. The pentagonal or hexagonal “honeycombs” are punched and at the same time provided with slots for the seam. A worker punches individual parts for 300 to 400 balls per day.
  3. The punched out individual parts are sorted into sets. The natural rubber bladder (also called the soul) and the sewing thread are added. Wax is applied to the threads to make the seam and thus the ball waterproof.
  4. A ball takes an average of three hours of sewing time, so one worker can sew about three balls a day.
  5. A quality control takes place after the sewing . Roundness, mass and air loss are checked. Then the balls are painted and the design and brand label are applied. Finally, they are packaged ready for export and sent to their destination by plane or ship.

Around 75% of more than 40 million pieces per year of world production of soccer balls come from the area around the city of Sialkot in Punjab ( Pakistan ). With a few exceptions, the footballs are made by extremely poorly paid seamstresses, often by children under the age of 14. Sewers earn around 65 to 75 cents per ball. The final price of the official World Cup ball 2018 in Germany is 149.95 euros. In order to limit child labor, some sporting goods companies only commission companies that employ their workers centrally in large factories under controlled working conditions (see fair trade ). Others are moving production to China, however, as wages there are even lower. The plastic balls produced since 2004 no longer have to be sewn, but are glued, which threatens the income and thus the livelihood of tens of thousands of Pakistanis.

As the International Matchball Standard , FIFA describes the seal of approval for soccer balls manufactured according to their minimum product quality standards. Only these may be used in indoor or outdoor tournaments organized by FIFA and its six basic confederations. The designation is the cost-effective technical equivalent of the FIFA Inspected seal, which is subject to a license fee.

Official match balls

Up until the soccer World Cup in 1966, the match ball was determined by the host and usually came from a manufacturer in the host country. Since 1970 all official match balls for the World and European Championships as well as the Summer Olympic Games have been manufactured by Adidas . Since the 2000/01 season, Adidas has also been supplying the UEFA Champions League with a ball called the “ Finale ” and, between 2010 and 2018, the Bundesliga uniformly with the “ Torfabrik ” ball. Since the 2018/19 season , the uniform match ball with the “ Brillant APS ” has been provided by Derbystar .

FIFA World Cups

For the FIFA - world championships developments were each prepared by the selected developer companies.

Top Star  - Sweden 1958 : TheSwedish-made top star was selected from a list of 102 balls submitted. It was made of yellowish leather that was used in the elongated panels customary at the time. The top star was also used as the second official match ball at the subsequent World Cup in 1962.

Mr. Crack  - Chile 1962 : Mr. Crack was a Chilean manufacturer's ball made of yellowish leather. Due to qualitative deficiencies, FIFA approved the top star from 1958 as the second official match ball.

Challenge 4-Star  - England 1966 : The Challenge 4-Star was produced by the English manufacturer Slazenger and, like its predecessors, was made of leather that was joined together in an elongated panel design. The ball used in the final was reddish-brown in color.

Telstar 1974

Telstar  - Mexico 1970 : The Telstar was, as usual for soccer balls at the time, made entirely of leather. Unlike other balls, however, it was made of 32 hand-sewn panels and consisted of twelve black pentagons and 20 white hexagons (this corresponds to a truncated icosahedron ). The black and white design of the Telstar became particularly well known. The Telstar - whose name was derived from "Star of Television" - was easier to spot than brown balls on black and white television. In addition to the black and white model, white and brown and red models were also produced for the World Cup.

Telstar Durlast  - Germany 1974 : Two match balls were used in this soccer World Cup. The Telstar made its comeback with black instead of the previous gold-colored lettering. In addition, following the success of the Telstar , the Chile, a new model entirely in white, was introduced. This ball was named after the all-white ball that was played with during the 1962 World Cup in Chile .

Tango Durlast  - Argentina 1978 : In 1978 there wasa decisive advancement infootball design with the introduction of Tango . 20 identical triads gave the optical impression of twelve identical circles. This replaced the classic honeycomb pattern, because the match balls for the next five soccer world championships were based on this basic design. The Tango was also characterized by a higher level of weather resistance.

Tango España  - Spain 1982 : Compared to the Tango from 1978, the design has only been changed slightly. However,an important technical innovation was usedin Tango España . The Tango España - still made entirely of leather - had seams that were sealed waterproof for the first time. This drastically reduced the water absorption of the ball in wet playing weather and minimized weight gain.

Azteca México  - Mexico 1986 : The Azteca was the first fully synthetic match ball used in a World Cup. The use of synthetic materials increased durability and further reduced water absorption. The Azteca showed unmatched properties on hard soils, at high altitudes and in humid climates. The design of the ball was shaped by the country's cultural past, as was the name, which wasderivedfrom the Aztecs .

Etrusco Unico 1990

Etrusco Unico  - Italy 1990 : The Etrusco Unico represented the next development stage in synthetic materials. It was the first game ball with an inner layer of black polyurethane foam. This made the Etrusco Unico completely water-repellent. The ball played better and reached higher shooting speeds. Each of the 20 tango triads was adorned with three Etruscan lion heads.

Questra  - USA 1994 : The Questra was the first match ball with a high-tech layer made of white polyethylene foam with a particularly high energy return. Thanks to the PE layer, the Questra was easier to control on the foot, but it came off the foot much faster, which was noticeable in higher shooting speeds. The name and the design are based on the American motto " Que st for the star s" (Eng. Reach for the stars ).

Tricolore  - France 1998 : The Tricolore was the first multi-colored World Cup match ball. The name and design were inspired by the French flag , the so-called tricolor and the "Gallic rooster", the traditional symbol of the French and the French football association. The Tricolore also had a newly developed layer of "syntactic foam" - a dense, regularly arranged matrix of gas-filled, individually sealed and particularly hard-wearing microballs. Thanks to this foam, the ball was more durable and impressed with improved energy return and dimensional stability.

Fevernova  - South Korea and Japan 2002 : The Fevernova with its colorful Asian design was the first match ball for a soccer World Cup with a different design than the Tango designsince 1978. The improved syntactic foam layer of the Fevernova , in combination with the three-layer fabric, gave the ball an even more precise and predictable trajectory.

+ Teamgeist  - Germany 2006 : The + Teamgeist wasofficially presented on December 9, 2005as part of the final draw of the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 in Leipzig . The new arrangement of 14 panels in the form of six “propellers” and eight “turbines” results in an overall rounder structure. Mathematically, the construction is related to a truncated octahedron . + Team spirit only shows a maximum deviation of 0.1% from the perfect ball , which should bring about a significant improvement in terms of precision and ball control. The shortening of the seams also leads to better resilience. The individual panels are not sewn together, but are welded together. For the first time at a soccer world championship, all match balls were labeled with the names of the two playing teams as well as the date, time and location. A gold-colored version of the ball called + Teamgeist Berlin was used inthe final.

Jabulani  - South Africa 2010 : The name comes from the Zulu language , where Jabulani means 'celebrate'. The ball weighs 440 grams and has a circumference of 69 centimeters. The special surface structure is supposed to improve the aerodynamic properties (similar to a golf ball), the newly developed "bubble" allows better rebound properties. For the final, the ball was given a special gold-colored design and bears the name Jo'bulani .

Brazuca 2014 (final ball)

Brazuca  - Brazil 2014 : The name was determined by the fans in 2012 by means of voting and prevailed against Bossa Nova and Carnavalesca . The look of the ball is striking: the surface is composed of six congruent elements (so-called panels) in the form of four- blade propellers .

Telstar 18 (Soccer)  - Russia 2018

FIFA Confederation Cups

Separate balls have also been developed for some FIFA Confederations Cups .

The Pelias II was a graphically revised version of the ball from the Athens Olympic Games , the design of which was shaped by the national colors of Germany, black, red and gold. Like the Roteiro in 2004, it was manufactured using the new adhesive technology and also contained a counterweight to the valve.

The construction of the Kopanya is exactly the same as the EUROPASS. The name Kopanya comes from South Sotho, an official language in South Africa and means something like "coming together". The design of the ball was based on the artistic work of the Ndebele people in southern Africa. The complex shapes and black contours are traditional elements of the Ndebele, combined with the colorful swings of blue, yellow, green and red that are characteristic of modern Ndebele artists. A silver shimmer gives the ball a futuristic touch.

"The name Cafusa is a combination of three words that are indispensable in Brazilian culture, namely carnaval, futebol and samba (carnival, football, samba). With this and its lively colors, the ball is a perfect embodiment of the Brazilian identity The constellation "Southern Cross", which can also be seen on the national flag of Brazil, can also be found in the design of the ball. "

UEFA European Championships

For the UEFA - European Football Championship the following match balls were used.

Telstar Durlast  - Belgium 1972
Telstar Durlast  - Yugoslavia 1976
Tango Italia  - Italy 1980
Tango Mundial  - France 1984
Tango Europe  - Germany 1988
Etrusco Unico  - Sweden 1992
Questra Europe  - England 1996

The Questra Europa was a further development of the Questra game ball from the 1994 World Cup for the games in England in 1996 . The design was also adapted to the host country, for the first time at an EM, and so three metallic blue lions and a red rose adorned the hexagons. The Questra Europa was the first colored soccer ball in an important soccer tournament.

Terrestra Silverstream  - Belgium & Netherlands 2000

The Terrestra Silverstream was the official match ball at the European Football Championship 2000 in Belgium and the Netherlands. The tournament was hosted by two countries for the first time, so the design has been adapted to the rivers for which the two host countries Belgium and the Netherlands are famous. Because of their glow in the morning sun (in the respective national languages) they are called " silver streams " by the inhabitants .

Roteiro  - Portugal 2004

The Roteiro for Portugal 2004 was not sewn together for the first time, but thermally glued and consisted only of the plastic polyurethane , which should prevent the absorption of water and make the ball more durable. There was also a small weight opposite the valve, which was supposed to compensate for the imbalance in order to improve the trajectory (“Power Balance Technology”). It was named after the logbook of the famous Portuguese navigator and explorer Vasco da Gama . The aqua-metallic basic color of the ball with blue stripes should be reminiscent of the sky and the sea, while fine silver lines represent the coordinate system.

Europass  - Austria & Switzerland 2008

The match ball for the Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland is a further development of the + team spirit and was presented as part of the group draw for the UEFA EURO 2008 on December 2, 2007 in Lucerne . The structure of the 14 panels is the same as that of the World Cup ball. Above all, the surface structure, also called PSC texture, which is reminiscent of goosebumps , has been renewed . It should provide more grip and control in different weather conditions. The look of the ball is very classic, the 12 black dots on a white background are surrounded by red and silver lines, and the two flags of the host countries also flow into the design. The name symbolizes the common orientation of the two countries, but also stands for the passport on the field. As in the 2006 World Cup, a separate match ball was used for the final, the EUROPASS gloria , a silver version of the match ball.

Tango 12  - Poland & Ukraine 2012

The official match ball for UEFA Euro 2012 was presented on December 2, 2011, on the sidelines of the group draw in Kiev.

Beau Jeu  - France 2016

Officially presented on November 13, 2015 in Paris

Africa Cup of Nations

Adidas wawa aba (Ghana 2008)
wawa aba  - Ghana 2008

The wawa aba is the first game ball specially designed for the Africa Cup of Nations . It is also manufactured by Adidas and has the same properties as the EUROPASS . In terms of color, it is kept in red, yellow, green and black, the colors of the host country Ghana , which are also considered pan-African colors, and thus stands out strongly from the classic color scheme with white as the basic tone. The design shows typical African elements, and the name wawa aba (German: seeds of the abachi tree ) stands for strength and flexibility.

Comoequa  - Gabon & Equatorial Guinea 2012

The Comoequa is based on the Tango 12 and is also similar in design, but the basic color is yellow. The name is made up of the Como river , which flows through both host countries, and the equator .

Olympic Summer Games

At the Olympic Games , specially modified footballs were used.

Like the Questra Europa, which was used at the European Football Championship in England in June of the same year, the Questra Olympia was only a visually adapted Questra from the 1994 World Cup. Only the Olympic flame adorned the stars instead of the lions Hexagons.

The Gamarada was a graphic revision of the Terrestra Silverstream of the European Football Championship 2000. Instead of silver, it was red and orange and should therefore correspond to the colors of the Australian outbacks . The name was taken from the language of the Aborigines and means something like "friend".

Adidas Team Spirit Magnus Moenia - ( Olympic Summer Games 2008 )

The ball, named after Pelias from Greek mythology, was the first soccer ball to be redeveloped for the Summer Olympics and not just given a graphic adaptation.

Also known as the “Great Wall Star”, the match ball for the Beijing Olympic Games was based on the technology of Teamgeist II , which was used at the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup . It is intended to signal the referee to cross the goal line. The design is based on the colors of the host country. The ball is strongly red with golden Chinese characters, 中國 , which mean "China" in German.

See also


  • Christoph Biermann: Almost everything about football. KiWi, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-462-03639-4 .
  • Jens Heilmann: The world championship balls. All original footballs from 1930 to 2010 , Hechendorf 2010, ISBN 978-3-00-030793-5 .

Web links

Commons : Soccer Balls  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Football  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. The man who stole the ball from the ball, August 24, 2015. Accessed January 8, 2020 .
  2. Simplified rules of the game for children's football . In: DFB - German Football Association e. V. March 4, 2014 ( [accessed March 24, 2018]).
  3. How do I train football when there is snow? Retrieved October 18, 2015 .
  4. ^ First white ball , report on of August 27, 2018, page in portug., Accessed on August 30, 2018.
  5. The World Cup ball comes from Pakistan . In: taz , June 12, 2018.
  6. Belinda Duvinage, Soccer: Adidas releases the ball , from August 20, 2018, accessed on April 5, 2019.
  7. a b c d Heilmann (2010) , quoted from N. Thomma, WM- Bälle . A hunt around the world , Tagesspiegel on Sunday 9 May 2010, available in the online archive
  8. World Cup exhibition 10 years Enni  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Gallery: 24 World Cup balls in the Moers customer center, with information about the manufacturer@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  9. «The“ King of Football ”innovations” . In: Land of Inventors - The Magazine for Innovations , 2010.
  10. . See also: World Cup game device "Jabulani" - "The ball is terrible, terrible" . In: Spiegel Online from June 2, 2010.
  11. "The official adidas ball for the 2014 FIFA World Cup is called Brazuca" ( Memento of the original from October 24, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . In: Galerie des Sports from September 4, 2012 . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. adidas Cafusa is the Official Match Ball .