Friday 24 November 2017

Harland 'unconcerned' by ball criticism

The Adidas Jubulani fottball has come under criticism. Photo: Getty Images
The Adidas Jubulani fottball has come under criticism. Photo: Getty Images

The man behind the World Cup ball today defended it against mounting criticism.

England goalkeeper David James is among the players to have hit out at the Adidas Jabulani, describing it as "dreadful" and "horrible".

Dr Andy Harland, who developed the ball at Loughborough University's Sports Technology Institute, said much of the criticism was due to the unfamiliar effects arising from teams playing at altitude as part of their pre-World Cup training.

"I've seen nothing that's concerned me," he told Sky Sports News. "This ball has been around since December and been used since then around the world with very few comments.

"Teams have gone to altitude and you've seen comments come out in those circumstances.

"We've said all along it would affect the ball, but it should be said whichever ball you play with at altitude is going to be affected."

The ball is billed as the roundest ever made, a quality which would make it less stable in the air if not for a series of grooves on the surface designed to reduce aerodynamic problems.

"Over the last 10 years, as football has developed you've seen balls getting rounder and the outside surfaces changing, and let's not underestimate the skill players have," said Harland.

"It is liable to certain aerodynamic affects. We've tried to avoid some of the unpredictable flight."

Harland said not one team had contacted him to discuss the ball and added he was not surprised by the criticism.

"It's not entirely unexpected," he said. "Before every tournament players come out and voice their opinions.

"There are no secrets about this ball. The ball is designed to allow the very best players in the world to exhibit their skills."

Press Association

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