By Mark Baber
November 10 – Adidas has revealed the official match ball for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, paying homage to the first-ever Adidas World Cup ball.
According to a statement on FIFA’s official website: “The Telstar 18 evokes unforgettable memories of the 1970 FIFA World Cup – and of legends like Pelé, Gerd Müller, Giacinto Facchetti, Pedro Rocha and Bobby Moore – and will feed the dreams of those who will play for football’s most coveted prize in Russia next year.”
The unveiling ceremony in Moscow was graced by Lionel Messi, whose hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Ecuador helped book Argentina’s place at next year’s tournament and who commented,
“I was lucky enough to get to know this ball a bit earlier and I managed to have a try with it. I like all of it: the new design, the colours, everything,” he said.
Roland Rommler, Category Director of Football Hardware at Adidas, commented on the challenges of designing the Telstar 18, saying: “The original Telstar is one of the most iconic footballs of all time and one which changed football design forever, so developing the Telstar 18 while staying true to the original model was a really exciting challenge for us.”
“The new panel structure and inclusion of an NFC chip has taken football innovation and design to a new level and offers both consumers and players a completely new experience.”
The NFC (near-field communication) chip has never been implemented in a World Cup football before and will apparently allow fans to interact with the ball using their smartphones, although how this will work in practice remains to be seen.
The original ‘Telstar’ ball was named after a US communications satellite, and its presence on the field of play in Russia will be an ironic reminder of the dismal failure of the US Men’s National Team to qualify for the tournament.
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