With the European Football Championship 2016 fast approaching, it is high time to take a closer look at the official match ball that will be the center of attention this summer in France. First of all, it comes as no surprise that once again, the new ball – the EURO “Beau Jeu” – should be a co-production of Covestro and Adidas. After all, the two companies are celebrating a milestone anniversary this year: sports goods manufacturer adidas and materials supplier Covestro have been collaborating on the development of footballs now for a total of thirty years, and have accumulated a wealth of know-how and experience along the way.
The next thing to notice is that the Beau Jeu, French for “beautiful game”, incorporates the best elements of the Brazuca, the official match ball of the 2014 Soccer World Cup- it features the same panel design- but surpasses it in terms of grip and its properties in play. The improved ball control and stable flight characteristics of the Beau Jeu, as well as its water resistance, are all thanks to its outer shell.
Which is precisely where Covestro comes in.
“The ball’s outer shell consists of a total of five layers based on polyurethane raw materials from our Impranil line,” said Thomas Michaelis, project manager for ball development at Covestro. “It starts with the outermost skin, a full underglass print that prevents abrasion of the printed layer.”
The extraordinarily durable white surface of the ball is decorated in the French national colors, blue, white and red. It covers the underlying intermediate layer, which protects the ball against external influences and lends it unusually high elasticity. Beneath that is a polyurethane foam with millions of microspheres that ensure outstanding flight characteristics. A polyurethane adhesive bonds the top layers to a special polyester-cotton fabric that serves as a substrate.
The current world champion, Germany, who, in 2014 became the first European side to win the World Cup on South American soil, has been familiarizing itself with the behavior of the new ball, as have the other competitors in the tournament, since November 2015. However, the Beau Jeu had its premiere in the world’s first digital soccer stadium, the adidas Future Arena in St. Denis, where computer-animated stands simulated 50,000 spectators. Obviously, the true test will come on June 10th, when the European Soccer Championship kicks off.
The first bets on who will be the top scorer the upcoming UEFA EURO ’16 in France have already been placed…