Al-Rihla, the official match ball of the 2022 World Cup, arrived in Dubai on Wednesday, following its grand launch in Qatar last week, on the first stop on a world tour to showcase the new ball and support community initiatives sponsored by its manufacturer, Adidas.
Real Madrid and France star Karim Benzema and Emirati women’s national team player Nouf Alanzi were on hand to help with the celebrations, and they were joined by children from the Dubai football community, including young players from Gulf United FC. A specially created image was also projected on the Burj Khalifa to help inspire the next generation of female footballers in the region.
Benzema said: “The World Cup ball is the start of everything; the start of new beginnings, new possibilities and new memories. This is Al-Rihla, inspired by the Arab world.”
Adidas said that the name Al-Rihla, which translates as “the journey,” was inspired by the architecture, boats and flag of Qatar. It is the 14th successive ball the company has created for the FIFA World Cup and it said it is designed to support the highest game speeds as it travels faster in flight than any previous World Cup ball.
Following its launch in Qatar on March 30, Al-Rihla will visit 10 cities around the globe where Adidas is sponsoring initiatives that aim to improve access and equality in sport among local communities. Other destinations of the global tour include Tokyo, Shanghai, Mexico City and New York.