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Kick off!

Join us to kick off The Ball 2010

The Ball is embarking on its epic 10,000 mile odyssey through 25 countries to the World Cup in South Africa. Spirit of Football invites you to join us on January 24th to kick off The Ball 2010 with a game of three halves. Come and join us, however good or bad you are at football, wherever you come from, whichever sex you are and whether you want to play or not!

Sunday January 24th 2010
Meet at the Bandstand from 9.30am – 10am latest
Game from 10.15am until 11:45am
Post–match gathering until late-afternoon at The Prince Albert pub


What’s going on then?

We will be playing football in Battersea Park, London, in honour of the first ever game to FA rules which was played there in January 1864. The ball we play with, made in Africa in partnership with “Alive and Kicking”, becomes The Ball 2010 at kick–off. Over the next five months, it will be passed and dribbled through Europe and Africa. It will live and breathe football, from street to stadium, all the way to the pinnacle of footballing excellence — the FIFA World Cup.

The Ball 2010 is a durable, repairable, fair-trade football made in Africa in partnership with Alive and Kicking. As trustee James Flecker says: “It’s an African ball made for the poorest African communities – the very embodiment of development through football in Africa”. And by teaming up with Special Olympics Africa, The Ball 2010 will help to create awareness of people in Africa with intellectual disabilities and the many challenges they face as it visits 14 events in countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

Below is a short video of a prototype of The Ball 2010, as described by Andrew Aris on a rooftop terrace in Manhattan, shortly before our presentation for the Goethe Institut’s Todo Alemán project back in August last year.

The Game

A Game of Three Halves

If you want to play please get in touch with us, get to the Bandstand by 10am and bring along a dark and a light coloured shirt with your oldest looking shorts. We would like to kick off at about 10.15am.

First Half: The Early Game

We’ll start off with a lighthearted look back at the way football was played before the first game of FA rules. No referee, limitless numbers and no rules except for honour and fair play.

Second Half: With the 1864 rules

A short refereed match where the first ever set of FA rules apply. Well, ahem, most of them — we’ll pick teams, 11-a-side, and play a tag substitute system — to keep as many as possible involved and save the tired athletes that smoked their pipes too much in the first half.

Third Half: With modern rules

Darks and Lights will be battling it out to the bitter end with the modern game… pipes and flat caps left on the sidelines.

Dan Magness

Freestyle football genius Dan will be there joining in the festivities and showing us some of the skills that will help him on Tuesday when he will attempt to break a fifth world record by juggling a ball thirty miles across London and visiting all Premier League stadiums in the capital in the process. To be successful he must keep the ball under control at all times using all parts of his body (except his hands) and keep the ball off the ground. Go Dan!

Extra Time

After the football, we will retire to a private room upstairs at The Prince Albert pub, which stands just outside the Albert Gate on the north-west side of Battersea Park. There will be an auction, where replicas of The Ball 2010 signed by the likes of Franz Beckenbauer and other famous footballers can be purchased (donations go to support our journey). Short films of previous journeys (2002 and 2006) will be shown.

The evening of that first game in 1864, the FA made this toast – “Success to Football, irrespective of class and creed”. We will be adding “sex” and “talent” to the list.

Please come and join us as we celebrate the beautiful game.

Battersea Park Map


Written by on Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

3 comments on this post

  1. Cheers for the invite guys. Was a wicked day, thanks for letting us be involved. Hope the trip goes well and I’ll keep an eye on the blog.

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The Ball 2018 left England on 25th March 2018 and travelled to the World Cup in Russia.

The Ball 2014 kicked off from England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.