For most football purists, the advent of technology has ruined the nature of the game rather than improved it. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that football was MUCH more enjoyable before the accuracy of the VAR, but the point of such technologies isn’t to cater to audience entertainment, it’s to make the game as fair and unbiased as possible. Today, Adidas announced yet another tech-driven product to improve the game of Football. The FUSSBALLLIEBE (German isn’t the most elegant language) is a connected ball that detects kicks in real-time, and has also been adopted as the Official Football for the upcoming UEFA EURO 2024. Beyond its mouthful of a name, which translates to “love of soccer,” this ball is a groundbreaking fusion of sport and tech, designed to change how we experience and analyze football.
At the core of FUSSBALLLIEBE’s innovation is Adidas’ Connected Ball Technology, developed in collaboration with Kinexon. This tech marvel includes a 500Hz inertial measurement unit (IMU) motion sensor, ensconced in a suspension system at the ball’s center. It’s capable of providing detailed insights into every aspect of the ball’s movement, a feature unprecedented in football history. Not only does this technology offer real-time data to video match officials, enhancing the accuracy and speed of in-match decisions, but it also dovetails with UEFA’s semi-automated offside technology, marking a significant leap in the sport’s adjudication.
The ball isn’t just smart; it’s also a study in precision engineering. Its PRECISIONSHELL 20-piece panel shape, augmented by strategically placed deboss grooves, helps control airflow over the ball for maximum precision. The CTR-CORE within the ball further supports this precision, ensuring accuracy, consistent play, and maximum shape and air retention.
In terms of aesthetics, FUSSBALLLIEBE is a vibrant homage to the spirit of the game and the diversity of its global audience. The design, featuring black wing shapes with colorful edges, curves, and dots, encapsulates the movement of the ball and the energy of football. The use of bright colors like red, blue, green, and orange not only celebrates the competing nations but also the sheer joy and universality of football. The inclusion of tournament stadiums and host city names adds a personal touch to this edition of the ball, making it a collector’s item as much as a piece of advanced sporting equipment.
Sustainability is another cornerstone of the FUSSBALLLIEBE’s design. Made from bio-based materials like corn fibers, sugar cane, wood pulp, and rubber, combined with recycled polyester and water-based ink, Adidas touts the FUSSBALLLIEBE as featuring more bio-based materials than any previous Adidas Official Match Ball, without impacting its performance.
As we ‘kick-off’ EURO 2024 with Adidas’ FUSSBALLLIEBE, it’s clear that the future of football is as much about innovation and technology as it is about the game itself. From Adidas’ high-tech, real-time data-gathering ball to even Nendo’s airless football, these designs are not just about playing a game; they’re about changing it.