Monday 22 October 2018

Someone’s started an incredibly serious petition on football signage and you need to sign it

This is basic geometry, guys.

A sign pointing to Arsenal football club (Mike Egerton/PA)
A sign pointing to Arsenal football club (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Grace Rahman

You might not think the road signs directing fans to football stadiums are particularly important, as long as they’re pointing in the right direction.

Well, you’d be wrong. As mathematician and comedian Matt Parker pointed out, the football on those signs is not a football at all.

And it’s a national embarrassment.


“The football shown on UK street signs (for football grounds) is made entirely of hexagons,” writes Parker in his petition, urging the Government to fix the signs.

“But it is mathematically impossible to construct a ball using only hexagons.”

But what’s the solution to this mathematical conundrum?

“If the dark hexagons were changed to pentagons it would accurately depict a football on all future street signs,” Parker writes.


If you’re confused, the current image is made up of six-sided hexagons, which cannot fit together to make a sphere. However, hexagons and five-sided pentagons can.

The petition currently stands at 2,819 signatures, which means it’s around 7,000 people away from getting an official response from the Government.

At one point, it was getting 159 signatures per hour and was featured as the second most popular petition on the parliament petitions home page, so it may well reach 10,000.

We can’t imagine what the Government would have to say about this – it’s not like they’ve got much to do at the moment – but it’s certainly got us thinking a little harder about maths.

Press Association

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