In a victory for fan sovereignty, international football regulators FIFA have acceded to widely-popular demand to make “traditionally styled” footballs mandatory in all international competitions from 2015 onwards.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced earlier today, “…this is not merely a concession to the demands of fans, FIFA strongly believes that this move will help connect our modern game to its important, historic roots.”
These “traditionally styled” balls will be designed akin to those used in the late 19th and early 20th century, not merely in aesthetics but in composition. In the early days of mass produced footballs, major focus was placed on the durability of the ball and its ability to retain shape. This was achieved through the utilisation of hard, reinforced leather skins.
Boris Kovacic of the United Ultra’s Union (UUU), an instrumental group in lobbying FIFA for these changes, was quoted in a press release saying “Modern footballs are designed with built in expiry dates… we demand that quality and care become the focus of all football manufacturers, like they used to be.”
Mitre and Thomlinson’s were the first major producers of footballs, after the foundation of the English League in 1888, and ancestors from both producers will be consulted in 2015’s renewal.
Lewis Thomlinson, an accountant and the only remaining ancestor of the famous Scottish ball-maker, argued that “Football has become a lot about the money, you know, but I cannot wait to help in bringing back the qualities that made my great, great grandfather fall in love with the sport.”
It is rumoured that a key feature in the makeup of these balls is that they will be made from the rump of a cow, which is the highest quality of leather in respect to durability.
The United Ultra’s Union are one of many groups who have fought for such a change, uniting under the slogan “Against modern footballs”. This is an allusion to the common mantra, “against modern football”, a stance against the corporate state of the game in recent decades.
Pictured below, one of the “against modern football” movement’s major symbols is a traditionally styled football.
Kovacic describes, “it is difficult to change the forgone state of football in whole, but by successfully achieving one of our major goals, in reverting modern, pathetic, corporate footballs to these authentic ones, we have taken our first major step.”
It is not all upside, however, with FIFA announcing that this move will increase the cost of footballs by two hundred percent due to increased labor costs. Numerous sports medicine specialists have also come out against the movement, arguing that the new balls have potential to concuss players, particularly when the ball strikes their heads during a rainy contest.
Dr. Kristi Sandearth told FMF, “There is a reason why we moved away from hard leather balls – they are dangerous for players, and if wet, can right knock someone out.
“But fan movements aren’t always known for their clear and logical thinking… maybe these people have copped a few too many traditionally styled balls to the head.”
The change, however, is inevitable, with many major broadcasters also getting behind the idea – as tanned leather balls will appear more clearly on television. This, combined with the opportunity for FIFA to markup prices significantly on plastic replicas, means that the move will be very profitable for the organising body, while satiating long standing fan demands.
Kovacic concludes, “This is a victory for the anti-contemporary-football revolution. Fuck suits. Peace.”
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