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World Cup news

FIFA "not deaf" to Jabulani complaints

June 28, 2010
By Soccernet staff

On what proved to be a difficult weekend for FIFA, it was forced to admit there might be something wrong with the Jabulani World Cup ball, but said it would not act on any problems until after the tournament.

The Jabulani has caused controversy
GettyImagesThe Jabulani has caused controversy

• Ball makes for "poorer World Cup"

Many players have likened the Jabulani to a "supermarket ball," saying it is too unpredictable and flies through the air too easily. "We're not deaf," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said. "FIFA is not unreceptive about what has been said about the ball." He added FIFA would discuss the matter with coaches and teams after the World Cup, then meet with manufacturer Adidas.

"There are rules for size and weight," he said. "But the ball has to be perfect."

Goalkeepers have complained about the ball at every recent World Cup, although this time forwards and even coaches have added their voices to those moaning. Brazil coach Dunga got into a row with Valcke over the Jabulani before the tournament, challenging him to come out onto the pitch and attempt controlling it.

Critics have warned the Jabulani could create even more problems in the knockout phase when games could be decided on penalties.

"The balls have changed over the last couple of years," former Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said. "They have become a lot faster, and in addition to that in Johannesburg we are playing at an altitude of 1700 metres, which makes the ball even faster. Thus, the goalkeepers work even harder, but I don't think that we can take the ball or the altitude as excuses."

Adidas has made the World Cup ball since 1970 and is contracted to do so until 2014. That multi-million dollar commercial relationship can only complicate further any action by FIFA.