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Football and Science Monthly:
Yellow balls
By Prof. Matthew Bunner
Yellow balls. What's that all about? Since the clocks have gone back, we've been treated to the sight of yellow balls being hoofed around the field, presumably because the yellow makes the ball more visible. I've yet to be convinced that this is actually case, but seeing as yellow tennis balls are infinitely more visible at Wimbledon that the old white ones, I assume there's logic in the truth. But are there other hidden, perhaps mysterious, reasons for the implementation of the yellow ball?

I investigate....

One slant on this yellow ball malarkey is that they appear to travel a lot quicker and higher (anyone watching Pressman's efforts on Tuesday night will testify to the height). Is it because they actually do travel faster or it is because we can see the ball better so we can appreciate its trajectory? Crazy, I know, yet examine the evidence. We all know that white reflects heat and black absorbs, so one could argue that the yellow ball absorbs more heat than the white ball making the air inside less dense and consequently lighter. Rubbish, possibly, but feasible. Perhaps some student can persuade his University to stump up the cash for a final year project? In cricket, it is well documented that the white ball behaves differently to the red ball. Whether this is due to the colour of the manufacturing of the leather is open to question, but there is a difference. Are we seeing the football equivalent or is it my imagination?

You could argue that the yellow ball give us an advantage as we can camouflage the ball on our shirts whilst controlling it or when the ball is whipping in with a background of yellow from the stands or the players. Maybe this gave Mooney the crucial edge when burying his brace of headers on Saturday. Having said that why are Spurs so rubbish with the white ball then, or is it simply (he says jokingly) because Spurs are not very good?

Finally, the world could be waking up to the fact that yellow is the colour to be seen in. Coldplay in their wisdom decided this to be the case, obviously with the Golden Boys in mind, so it's only natural that the fickle public should follow suit and turn to the colour yellow.

In conclusion, there is no conclusion. Yellow footballs are here because they provide greater visibility and not because they remind me of party balloons! I do like yellow balls and I know why we have them, but you can't surpass the white ball because, at the end of the day, it's a more serious type of ball.