The ball used in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, hosted by Qatar, is named “Al Rihla.” This simple and striking name was chosen with a particular significance in mind, reflecting the cultural and footballing ethos that 2022’s World Cup—the first held in the Arab world and Muslim world—aimed to promote. 

“Al Rihla” translates to “The Journey” in Arabic, symbolizing not just the physical journey of teams and fans converging in Qatar from across the globe, but also the metaphorical journey of football development and the cultural exchange that the World Cup facilitates.

About Al Rihla

Designed by adidas, Al Rihla was officially revealed on March 30, 2022, marking yet another milestone in adidas’ long history of designing footballs for the World Cup, starting in 1970 when the Telstar ball was used in Mexico. 

The design and technological aspects of Al Rihla were carefully crafted to meet the demands of the modern game, ensuring that it performs optimally across various playing conditions.

Al Rihla: The Style

The ball features a vibrant color palette, inspired by the culture, architecture, iconic boats, and flag of Qatar, blending tradition with modernity. 

Its design incorporates bold patterns that reflect the speed of the ball, emphasizing the dynamic nature of football. 

The colors chosen for Al Rihla are meant to stand out on the pitch, ensuring visibility for players, officials, and fans alike.

Al Rihla: The Substance

Technologically, Al Rihla represents a significant advancement in football design. Very much a culmination of the finest adidas soccer balls, it is touted as the fastest ball ever produced by adidas for a World Cup—designed to enhance accuracy, flight stability, and swerve. 

The ball itself is constructed using a new panel shape and a textured surface, intended to optimize aerodynamics and ensure consistent performance in any condition. This advancement is a result of adidas’ commitment to innovation, as the company is always pushing the boundaries of technology soccer and beyond.

Al Rihla: The Sustainability

The development of Al Rihla also underscores a commitment to sustainability. It’s the first World Cup ball to be made entirely from water-based glues and inks, reflecting a growing trend towards environmentally friendly practices in sporting goods manufacturing. 

This approach aligns with FIFA’s broader sustainability goals and the increasing emphasis on environmental consciousness in global sporting events.

Al Rihla: The Symbol

The introduction of Al Rihla to the world stage at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar was more than just the unveiling of a new football. It was a testament to the fusion of culture, technology, and sustainability. 

The ball played a central role in the tournament, contributing to the memorable moments and spectacular goals that define the World Cup experience. 

As “The Journey,” Al Rihla not only facilitated the physical play of the game but also symbolized the broader journey of football as a unifying global force, bringing together diverse cultures and nations in a celebration of sport.

Al Hilm: The Next Step

Al Rihla was used throughout the FIFA 2022 World Cup until the championship match between Argentina and France, where a new ball “Al Hilm” was used. 

Al Hilm is exactly like Al Rihla in engineering and materials—its only difference is its gold-and-red finish for a regal appearance befitting a FIFA World Cup championship match.

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