As was the case for «Dzabilani» among others for the South African World Cup in 2010, Qatar also has its own balloon, for this November’s high mass. It is called «Al Rihla» and arouses a lot of curiosity.
The Origins of the «Al Rihla»
Al Rihla” means “travel” in Arabic, meaning that this round leather through the cities of Qatar, will make the world of football travel, all the time of the competition, and that is understood. Its design is inspired by “culture, architecture, traditional boats and the Qatar flag,” FIFA said. In terms of appearance, this multi-coloured balloon is composed of a «pearly white base inspired by the traditional pearl industry of Qatar». There are also golden blue and red stripes. «Al Rihla» consists of 20 Speedshell panels whose shape is inspired by traditional dhow sailboats.
In a context where global warming is more than ever on the agenda, FIFA has thought about the ecological aspect. So “Al Rihla” is the first World Cup ball made “only with water-based inks and glues.”
«Al Rihla», the 14th wonder of the Adidas brand
As for the characteristics of the ball, «Al Rihla is the fastest of the official World Cup balls to date», announced Adidas Director of Conception-Football Graphics & Hardwear, Franziska Löffelmann. Might as well give a warning to goalies who will have to be extra vigilant. Football is getting faster and faster, and this evolution makes accuracy and stability in the air extremely important. The design of this new balloon keeps its speed in the air much longer,” she said. Adidas speaks of “ideal trajectory stability created by the shape and grooves of the ball.” More aerodynamic than any other World Cup balloon, Al Rihla was designed to promote a rhythmic game.
Al Rihla at the forefront of technology…
The «Al Rihla» balloon is connected and will be equipped with an inertial measuring unit sensor, capable of accurately determining its altitude, speed and position. It will be able to send data 500 times per second to a viewing room, reports Le Figaro.
This system is accompanied by a device of 12 cameras located on the roofs of the stadiums, which will follow the trajectory of the ball and the players. It will be used to measure 29 data points per player on a basis of 50 times per second. This technology will detect offsets and facilitate decision-making by referees. The latter will of course retain the last word. Within 20 seconds of each decision of the referee in the matter of offsets, a 3D animation will be generated automatically and broadcast on the TV and on the giant screens of the stadiums to explain the decision of the official.
The «Al Rihla» at what cost?
The «Al Rihla Pro» balon is sold by Adidas for 150 euros. A «Competition» version is available for 60 euros, and a «League» version for 35 euros. These last two models have the same design as the ball that will be used in the world 2022, but not the same characteristics, with in particular more polyester and a reduced share of polyurethane.
Source: AfricaTopSport / By Arnaud BOCCO