The Football (ball) reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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Football (ball)

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A football is a leather ball with which the sport football (soccer) is played. The traditional football's outer covering consists of 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons of leather sewn together. The ball is like the corresponding polyhedron (designated a truncated icosahedron, see picture there), except that it is more spherical, because the faces bulge due the pressure of the air inside.

A football / soccer ball

It is a model for the Buckminsterfullerene (C60) molecule. The diameter of the football and this buckyball are 22 cm and ca. 1 nm, respectively, hence the size ratio is 200,000,000 : 1.

Other designs for footballs exist, mainly being made up of curved strips of leather. There are also indoor footballs, which are made of one or two pieces of plastic. Often these have designs printed on them to resemble a traditional leather ball.

The now familiar black pentagon/white hexagon combination, called the Telstar, became the standard design for most soccer balls since Adidas introduced it to the Mexico World Cup in 1970. However, the new Nike GEO Merlin is currently the official ball of the English Premiership due to its lightweight properties enabling more spin on the ball.

In North America, the term football refers to a prolate leather ball (originally made from pigskin) which is used to play American football.