FIFA takes a kick in the balls

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:29 PM ET

The controversy known as “Orb-gate” has reared its ugly head in South Africa.

World Cup 2010 has not even kicked off yet and already there has been significant whining about the ball that has been created specifically for the tournament by adidas.

Saddled with the name “Jabulani,” the official orb of South Africa 2010 has not endeared itself to some players, who have described it as “weird,” and “unpredictable.”

Brazilian goaltender Julio Cesar took it one step further, calling the ball “horrible” and comparing it to some cheap brand you would pick up in a department store.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke responded by implying that Brazilian players and coaches were merely looking for excuses by verbally ripping the ball.

Only in soccer ...

By changing both the look and the physical makeup of these orbs for each World Cup, the sport is quite unique, to say the least.

Imagine if the NHL changed the weight of the puck for each Stanley Cup final. Or if major league baseball altered the number of stitches in its baseballs for every edition of the World Series.

Such is the case with the World Cup ball.

During the 2006 World Cup in Germany, there were complaints that the official orb — called “Teamgeist” — was unpredictable, was too wobbly and, of most concern, lacked accuracy.

Now, four years later, not even a new ball has been able to stop the complaints.


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