In 1886, Football Association bods ruled that if a player scores a hat-trick he is allowed to take home the match ball as a souvenir. However, today more often than not that player decides he has too many mini-submarines and camouflaged Bentley Continentals (we’re looking at you, Balotelli) to make room for it.
In that case they go to referees, host cities, Fifa partners and the Fifa museum. The rest are snapped up by Hamburg-based Kickstarter Handspiel, which is upcycling thousands of balls kicked around pitches at major tournaments all over the world into unique bracelets.
From Premier League friendlies to the 1998 World Cup final in France, each official ball the startup acquires carries the marks of every pass, goal, tackle, legendary victory and devastating defeat. As well as showing off the ball’s of-the-moment colourway, the reverse of the handmade bracelet is stamped with the match and date it was salvaged from.
Handspiel has smashed its funding target of €999, reaching €6,188, with fans pledging to buy bands from balls used at junior league games right up to a collector’s box of five bands from balls used at actual World Cup and Euro fixtures.
It’s time to throw away the branded ashtrays, garden gnomes and bedding.
Handspiel upcycled bands are available online from Kickstarter now with shipping starting on 1 August, priced from £12.