Once every four years for nearly a century, the men’s FIFA World Cup seems to dominate our global consciousness. For one month, the best soccer teams from around the world meet in the same country to compete for glory in a series of tournaments. This fall, Qatar will host the 22nd FIFA World Cup from November 21st through December 18th.
Each tournament comes with an official FIFA World Cup soccer ball that will be used throughout the games. These branded designs often incorporate the most cutting-edge advancements in soccer ball technology, and fans world-wide eagerly anticipate their release. Once unveiled, the resulting designs inspires a litany of reactions from literally every corner of the planet.
Adidas has designed the last 14 World Cup balls, including this year’s, which they’ve dubbed “Al Rihla.” Al Rihla is Arabic for “the journey,” which nods to “the culture, architecture, boats and flag of Qatar,” as FIFA shares in a statement on their site. Before Adidas finalized the design, the ball went through rigorous testing in their labs, including wind tunnels and on-field demos.
The shape of Al Rhila’s panels alludes to the triangular sails of the dhow boats native to Qatar. These 20 thermally-bonded panels also feature texturing and diamond debossing, which enhances the ball’s swerve and accuracy. FIFA even claims that Al Rhila’s Speedshel exterior and CRT-core make it the fastest ball in the tournament’s history.
The ball’s splintered, frenetic pattern takes inspiration from the Qatari flag and traditional Arab clothing. Pearlescent finish adds a literal extra sparkle to Al Rhila, which shimmers and gleams in the air. This sustainable design will also be the first World Cup ball made exclusively with water-based inks and glues.
Al Rhila is available now exclusively on Adidas.com for $165, with wide release slated for April 13th.