13 Jun 2024

uhlsport GmbH is pleased to unveil the design of the new match ball for the upcoming 2024/2025 season in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL).

The design is inspired by the traditional flax cultivation in Northern Ireland, which was one of the country’s most significant industries until the early 20th century, employing players and supporters in the formative years of Irish League football and even playing a key role in the formation of some NIFL clubs. The intimate ball design is based on flax plant and its blue flowers, which shape the striking yellow and blue colour scheme of the ball.

The innovative ADDGLUE technology ensures the new ball has optimal playing characteristics and high durability. This is characterized by extremely low water absorption, and the special high air retention bladder inside minimizes air loss. The textured polyurethane surface with an additional foam layer ensures optimal ball control. The 24-panel construction ensures perfect roundness and makes the ball FIFA-QUALITY PRO certified.

Gerard Lawlor, NIFL Chief Executive said: “We are proud to start the next season with such a unique design. The inspiration from flax cultivation allows us to present a piece of Northern Irish tradition on the football pitch. This ball will be used in all leagues and competitions of the NIFL and will undoubtedly create a deeper connection to our cultural roots and generate more unforgettable moments.”

Melanie Steinhilber, Director of Markets at uhlsport GmbH and member of the executive board, adds: “Our goal was to create a design for the new NIFL match ball that is not only technically advanced, but also tells a story. Symbolic of the former flax cultivation in Northern Ireland, we have incorporated strands of thread into the uhlsport design and used and modernized the colours of the flax plant.”

Since 2016, uhlsport has been the official match ball partner of NIFL and remains the longest serving commercial partner of professional football in Northern Ireland and has been synonymous with the huge growth in popularity of the NIFL leagues and competitions during that time.

With this new match ball, uhlsport sets new standards in design and functionality and simultaneously strengthens the cultural roots of Northern Irish football.