Adidas revealed Al Rihla – the Official Match Ball for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. It is the 14th successive ball adidas has created for the FIFA World Cup™ and is designed to support the highest game speeds as it travels faster in flight than any other World Cup ball.
“The game is getting faster, and as it speeds up, accuracy and flight stability becomes critically important. The new design allows the ball to maintain its speed significantly higher as it journeys through the air,” said Franziska Loeffelmann, Design Director – Football Graphics & Hardwear, adidas. “For the biggest global stage in all of sport, we set out to make the impossible, possible with radical innovation by creating the fastest and most accurate World Cup ball to-date”.
Starting its journey in Qatar, Al Rihla was unveiled to the world with a spectacular show, alongside World Cup greats, Casillas and Kaka, as well as female stars Farah Jeffry and Nouf Al Anzi. They were joined on pitch by a diverse mix of talent featuring aspiring female football players from Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and some young next generation players from Aspire academy.
The launch in Qatar will be the starting point of a journey of possibility as Al Rihla travels to locations including Dubai, Tokyo, Mexico City or New York, among others, to create a series of purposeful activations. Each activation aims to shine a light on concerns of access and equity experienced by those in the local footballing communities.
The launch event saw the debut of Al Rihla on a specially created pitch, which will be transported and donated to Challenge F.C., Saudi Arabia’s first ever women’s football league champions, to become a permanent fixture in Riyadh, delivering lasting impact for this team, who are currently without a permanent training facility.
Designed from the inside out using data and rigorous testing in adidas labs, wind tunnels, and on-pitch, Al Rihla provides the highest level of accuracy and reliability on the field of play, due in part to its new panel shape and surface textures:
CRT-CORE – The heart and soul of the ball, providing speed, accuracy, and homogeneity for the highest game speed and precision with maximum shape retention, air retention, and rebound accuracy
- SPEEDSHELL – Textured PU skin with new 20-piece panel shape, improving the accuracy, flight stability and swerve thanks to macro and micro textures, and surface debossing
The ball was also designed with the environment at its heart – all components have been reviewed and Al Rihla is the first World Cup ball made using only water-based inks and glues.
Al Rihla and the story behind the first Arabic-inspired World Cup ball
The bold, vibrant color and graphics set on a pearlescent background are inspired by culture of Qatar and the ever-increasing speed of the game, with speed revealing the spectrum of color to excite players and fans around the world from grassroots to elite levels.
Al Rihla translates as “the journey” in Arabic and has been inspired by the culture, architecture, iconic boats, and the flag of Qatar. The launch will mark the start of Al Rihla’s journey to 10 cities across the globe where adidas is creating a series of initiatives aimed at improving access and equity in sport amongst local communities.
“At adidas, we believe sport belongs to all, and we have been committed and active in improving access and equity for our global community of footballers. As part of this commitment, on its journey around the world, Al Rihla will support local communities with activations designed to create lasting impact for grassroots and beyond,” said Nick Craggs, General Manager – Football, adidas.
“We are also proud to continue our work with Common Goal, with 1% of Al Rihla’s net sales supporting the movement, together using football as a vehicle to drive social change and meaningful impact for the lives of young people.”
Al Rihla is the first World Cup ball in the 92-year history of the tournament which will directly contribute to raising funds to positively impact lives across the world, with 1% of Al Rihla’s net sales contributed going to the Common Goal movement. This is the latest commitment to creating lasting change for grassroots communities powered by adidas’ brand belief.
In 2020 the brand launched the adidas Football Collective – a new movement committed to creating change through football, that brings together past, current, and future initiatives aiming to empower teams and football communities around the world.