FIFA World Cup 2022: Adidas working on next outrageous game ball

FIFA World Cup (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
FIFA World Cup (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images) /

Every FIFA World Cup, the ball gets criticism.

The brain trusts at Adidas and FIFA already have been at work on the new ball for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. For FIFA 2018 in Russia, the Telstar 18, followed by the Mechta used in the knockout rounds, raised goalkeepers’ ire.

Early on, they complained that the ball didn’t travel predictable paths when struck. This may have been because of the air bladder construction, which was perfectly sealed to the outer surface of the ball. So kicking the outer surface is like also striking the bladder.

Then the ball popped twice in pay – during France’s game with Australia and the match between Uruguay and Saudi Arabia. One other unique feature made conspiracy theorists got busy.

This ball experimented with embedding a data chip in the membrane. It was a Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip. This chip allowed interaction with the ball after smart-devices downloaded an NFC app. Adidas didn’t produce their own app. So experimenters were advised to pick any third-party NFL app and give it a try.

The latest smartphones are all NFC-capable. Once enabled in settings, users had to find a Telstar 18/Mechta ball and tap the phone on the NFC logo. Then they got what is described as the Telstar 18 experience.

And that’s all.

In the future, Adidas hopes an embedded chip in the ball might communicate the velocity, length, and altitude of each kick. But no information on the next experience has been leaked yet.

But first, Russian President Vladimir Putin presented U.S. President Donald J. Trump with one of the chip-embedded balls. Politicians piled on when he returned to Washington, D.C. But the Secret Service had thoroughly checked out.

There was no potential for the game ball to become a spy device. Any advancements in the 2022 game ball chip are a lower priority than ensuring it performs well in the Qatar climate. Their work continues beyond public view today

Despite any criticisms or suspicion. Adidas assured all that the Telstar 18/Mechta was the most exhaustively tested FIFA World Cup ball ever. That included shooting the ball with cannons. The next ball is receiving the same attention.

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FIFA has rescheduled the 2021 U17 and U20 World Cups to 2023 to allow for vaccinations and other measures to resolve the COVID-19 pandemic. But the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar is still on.