You cannot play football without a ball, and so it has been since the game's conception, but just how has the ball changed and developed over the years to keep pace with football's evolution?
Issue 163 of UEFA's official publication UEFA Direct takes us on a memorable journey across the decades, from the leather football of yesteryear – which could actually increase dramatically in weight in the rain – to the synthetic creations of the modern era.
In a fascinating account packed with historical and factual detail, many of those who have experienced the remarkable transformation of the ball at first hand help tell the story ─ including Ruud Gullit, Zbigniew Boniek and Chris Waddle as outfield players, and Pat Bonner as a goalkeeper.
Elsewhere in this edition, women's football is aspiring to even greater heights, and the recent draw for next summer's UEFA Women's EURO 2017 in the Netherlands comes under the spotlight.
In his editorial column, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin explains his vision for women's football, and UEFA women's football development ambassador Nadine Kessler travels to Poland to discover the country's excellent progress in recruiting female players.
Elsewhere in UEFA Direct 163:
• The history of the away-goals rule in UEFA's competitions
• Roy Hodgson shares his vast coaching experience with UEFA Pro licence students
• Celebrating UEFA Grassroots Week across Europe
• The UEFA Foundation for Children's help for refugee and migrant children
• The European football community says 'No to Racism'
• Financial fair play's positive impact on club football finances
• News from the UEFA member associations
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