Johnston writes to FIFA criticising World Cup ball

July 7, 2010

Former Liverpool striker Craig Johnston has written to FIFA president Sepp Blatter criticising the ball being used at this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.

The Adidas Jabulani ball has received criticism from a number of players and coaches taking part in the tournament, who say it moves around too much in the air, making it harder to pass, control and shoot accurately.

And now Johnston, who created the ground-breaking Adidads Predator boot, has sent an open letter to Blatter, blaming the Jabulani for why the tournament has seen just an average of 2.22 goals per match, which is down on previous tournaments in 2006 and 2002.

In the letter Johnston says: “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 per cent 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 know it.”

Johnstone has said he expects to be blacklisted by FIFA as a result of his letter.

FIFA has said the Jabulani ball will be one of the main issues discussed at a World Cup de-brief which is expected to be held in September.