For a football tournament as important as the World Cup only the best is good enough.
For a football tournament as important as the World Cup only the best is good enough. At the moment the Adidas sporting company in France is hand-making the footballs that will be used when the finals of soccer's biggest competition are played in Argentina next June.
SYNOPSIS: Only the cream of world football will be there when West Germany, seen here beating Italy in a recent friendly, defend their title as World Champions in South America.
And the football they will be hoping to put into the back of the net will also be the finest in existence. At the factory in the small Alsace town of Landersheim the leather is selected and then stretched under supervision.
Then it is cut into identical shapes. Each ball uses 32 of these panels.
The pieces can be dyed in three colours - black, white or orange. The balls for the World Cup will be white with a black design. once stacked into bundles of 32 the panels must be weighed. The International Federation of Football Associations has specified that each ball must be an exact weight and shape throughout the competition.
The hardest part of the task is the sewing together of the panels -this must be done by hand. A special nylon thread is used for this exacting job. Adidas is a German company, but nearly all the skilled sewing is carried out by Algerian workers. With the rest of the factory staffed by Frenchman under a Spanish supervisor, a truly international atmosphere is assured.
The ball is turned outside in and then a bladder is inserted.
With the bladder inside the last panel can be sewed into place. But the job is far from finished yet.
The balls are blown up to a weight between 14 and 16 ounces. If everything has been done correctly that should make the circumference of the ball between 27 and 28 inches. After being dried, those specification are examined again and then only one important task remains.
The company is working hard to maintain its reputation as the best in its field and every ball carries an emblem. The balls are then stacked and next month and first load will be despatched to Argentina