KEIR RADNEDGE in Kyiv
— International football is dancing into the future with the Tango 12 football at the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine next summer. The ball was formally ‘unveiled’ by event sponsor Adidas before the draw in Kyiv.
Adidas ceo Herbert Hainer said that the ball had been tested and praised by players of both Milan and Bayern Munich. Earlier versions of the Tango were used at the 1978 and 1982 World Cups and the European Championship finals in 1980, 1984 and 1988.
Adidas had been highly criticised over the Jabulani ball at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but Hainer said the company’s developers had tried to learn from whatever mistakes they may have made with that ball. The Tango 12 would attract no such comments.
Hainer said: “There is no-one better at developing balls than us. We have the most experience. We have tested the balls intensively, with teams and individual players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Villa. We have also tested it with goalkeepers, Petr Cech and Manuel Neuer. The ball was used in the Europa League. The comments we have received so far are all very positive.
“Of course we are always learning and we take criticism very seriously. People criticise the ball but as soon as the tournament starts there are other events going on and it gets forgotten.
“We have to decide about two different facts. The design doesn’t have an impact on the behaviour of the ball. The criticism of the ball was that when it was kicked hard it flew further than they thought.
“There were two aspects to this in South Africa. First of all we try to make the ball as round as possible so it can fly faster. Secondly teams who played at altitude found the ball flew further. But this ball has more stability than any other ball. The matt finish gives more grip to the ball, which players like.”