Football is the world’s most popular sport. Each year, all over the world, about 40 million footballs are sold. In the recent years, football technology has significantly progressed.
Leather football was developed by using an inflatable bladder made of vulcanized rubber in the football’s centre, and tanned leather in the outer panels. This football lost its shape over time due to stretching of leather, and it absorbed water rendering heaviness and discomfort.
In the 1960s, stitched synthetic footballs were introduced. These balls were rounder than ever before owing to their mathematically ordered shape. However their manufacturing was labor intensive.
In the 2004 European Championship, the thermally bonded footballs were introduced. These were made by arranging the panels inside a mould and applying adhesive to the edges of each panel; and then heating and pressuring the mould. Several other changes like dramatic reduction in the number of panels, addition of surface texture to the panel surface, addition of fabric carcass between the panels and the bladder, inclusion of attractive elements, etc have been introduced in football making since then. In future, it is believed that aerodynamics and goal line technology will be influencing the football technology.