Ex-Liverpool FC player Craig Johnston hits out at World Cup ball
THE row over the controversial Jabulani World Cup ball is refusing to die down with former Liverpool striker Craig Johnston having written a 12-page letter to FIFA president Sepp Blatter criticising the ball.
Johnston, the Australian who developed the Adidas Predator boot, has collated all the criticism of the ball from players and coaches and delivered a detailed and technical description of the problems with the ball.
The Jabulani ball is manufactured by Adidas but that has not spared them from Johnston’s withering letter.
He puts the fact there have been so few goals scored – an average of 2.22 goals per match, down on 2006 and 2002 – down to the ball.
Johnston says in his letter to Blatter: “If a sponsor came into your office before the World Cup and said: ’We are going to give you a new, perfectly round match ball, the players won’t like it at all, there will be more mistakes made than in any other World Cup, there will be less goals scored, less free-kicks scored, less passes complete, less control by players and roughly 70% of crosses and shots on goal will miss wide and go way over the crossbar. What would you say to them?’
“I am risking my reputation and goodwill within certain football circles by writing this open letter to yourself and anybody else who is interested in the Jabulani ball issue and why its endorsement by FIFA could ruin the game as we now know it.”
Johnston expects to be blacklisted by FIFA as a result of his letter.
FIFA say the Jabulani issue will be one of the main topics debated by the national team coaches at a World Cup de-brief expected to be held in September.