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K League to play with official World Cup ball starting this week

Al Rihla is the 14th consecutive World Cup ball manufactured by Adidas. (Yonhap )
Al Rihla is the 14th consecutive World Cup ball manufactured by Adidas. (Yonhap )

The operator of the South Korean professional football competition announced Monday the official FIFA World Cup ball will be put in play starting this week.

   The Korea Professional Football League (K League) said "Al Rihla," the match ball for this year's World Cup in Qatar, will be featured here, beginning with matches on Thursday. It is also the Children's Day holiday.

   Following a spring break during the group stage for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League, the top-tier K League 1 will resume its season Thursday with all 12 clubs in action.

   Al Rihla, which means "the journey" in Arabic, is the 14th consecutive World Cup ball manufactured by Adidas. Its design is inspired by the culture and architecture of Qatar, as well as the flag of the host country.

   When the ball was unveiled at the end of March, FIFA claimed Al Rihla travels faster in flight than any other ball in World Cup history.

   Al Rihla is also the first FIFA World Cup ball to be made exclusively with water-based inks and glues, with sustainability given a priority.

   The 2022 World Cup kicks off on Nov. 21 and will wrap up on Dec. 18. It will be the first World Cup held in the Arab world and the first not to be played in May, June or July.

   South Korea will be making their 10th consecutive appearance. They will face Portugal, Uruguay and Ghana in Group H.

   South Korea have made it to the knockout phase twice. They reached the semifinals in 2002, when they were co-hosts with Japan. Then in 2010, they lost to Uruguay in the round of 16 in South Africa. (Yonhap)

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