Football

Published: Tuesday March 18, 2014 MYT 4:25:37 AM
Updated: Tuesday March 18, 2014 MYT 4:26:17 AM

Launch of Little Chubby kicks off battle of the balls

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A Brazilian company has created a rival to the official World Cup ball and given it the name Gorduchinha, or Little Chubby, the moniker many Brazilians wanted in the first place.

The predominantly white ball is painted with a stylised Brazilian flag and carries the declaration, "Created by Brazilians."

It is meant to compete with the official World Cup ball manufactured by adidas and given the name Brazuca in an online poll of one million fans last year.

Adidas say Brazuca, a playfully slang word for native Brazilians, summed up the country's irreverence and the name being feminine conformed to the Brazilian stereotype of the ball as a woman, to be caressed and cared for.

However, some Brazilians, including 1994 World Cup winner and outspoken Congressman Romario, complained that Gorduchinha never even made the short list.

They said the name, which was coined in the 1970s by a well-known radio commentator Osmar Santos, was more Brazilian than the FIFA-imposed choices on the original shortlist of three.

Sports goods manufacturer Penalty have capitalised on the controversy by releasing a ball they baptised Gorduchinha.

Penalty is using Santos to promote the ball it said was representative of the country "everyone recognises as the country of football."

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