Edition:
United Kingdom
Pictures | Tue May 20, 2014 | 9:35pm BST

Making a World Cup ball

<p>An employee adjusts outer panels of a soccer ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province, Pakistan May 16, 2014. It was when he felt the roar of the crowd at the 2006 World Cup in Germany that Pakistani factory owner Khawaja Akhtar first dreamed up a goal of his own: to manufacture the ball for the biggest soccer tournament on the planet. Last year he finally got his chance - but only 33 days to make it happen. REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

An employee adjusts outer panels of a soccer ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province, Pakistan May 16, 2014. It was when he felt the roar of the crowd at the...more

An employee adjusts outer panels of a soccer ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province, Pakistan May 16, 2014. It was when he felt the roar of the crowd at the 2006 World Cup in Germany that Pakistani factory owner Khawaja Akhtar first dreamed up a goal of his own: to manufacture the ball for the biggest soccer tournament on the planet. Last year he finally got his chance - but only 33 days to make it happen. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
1 / 13
<p>Employees work in the production area inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

Employees work in the production area inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Employees work in the production area inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
2 / 13
<p>Khawaja Masood Akhtar, CEO of Forward Sports which manufactures the official World Cup ball, talks to Reuters during an interview at its factory in Sialkot May 16, 2014. His factory in eastern Pakistan had made balls for the German Bundesliga, French league and Champions League, but he had never snagged a World Cup contract. When Akhtar heard that Adidas' Chinese supplier for the World Cup couldn't keep up with demand, he immediately invited executives to his plant in Sialkot, a wealthy Pakistani manufacturing town with a long history of leatherwork. REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

Khawaja Masood Akhtar, CEO of Forward Sports which manufactures the official World Cup ball, talks to Reuters during an interview at its factory in Sialkot May 16, 2014. His factory in eastern Pakistan had made balls for the German Bundesliga, French...more

Khawaja Masood Akhtar, CEO of Forward Sports which manufactures the official World Cup ball, talks to Reuters during an interview at its factory in Sialkot May 16, 2014. His factory in eastern Pakistan had made balls for the German Bundesliga, French league and Champions League, but he had never snagged a World Cup contract. When Akhtar heard that Adidas' Chinese supplier for the World Cup couldn't keep up with demand, he immediately invited executives to his plant in Sialkot, a wealthy Pakistani manufacturing town with a long history of leatherwork. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
3 / 13
<p>An employee collects ball panels from a machine that applies adhesive at the edges inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. In the past 40 years, Akhtar's own family business, called Forward, has grown from 50 men to 1,400 employees. Unusually for Pakistan, nearly a quarter of them are women. Almost all say they are the first woman in their family to work. REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

An employee collects ball panels from a machine that applies adhesive at the edges inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. In the past 40 years,...more

An employee collects ball panels from a machine that applies adhesive at the edges inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. In the past 40 years, Akhtar's own family business, called Forward, has grown from 50 men to 1,400 employees. Unusually for Pakistan, nearly a quarter of them are women. Almost all say they are the first woman in their family to work. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
4 / 13
<p>An employee adjusts outer panels on a soccer ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. The firm's previous investment in thermal bonding technology paid off. Only thermally bonded balls - made using a glue that reacts with heat - are round enough for the World Cup's strict standards. REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

An employee adjusts outer panels on a soccer ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. The firm's previous investment in thermal bonding technology...more

An employee adjusts outer panels on a soccer ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. The firm's previous investment in thermal bonding technology paid off. Only thermally bonded balls - made using a glue that reacts with heat - are round enough for the World Cup's strict standards. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
5 / 13
<p>An employee conducts the final check to fix any cavity in the seams of a ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

An employee conducts the final check to fix any cavity in the seams of a ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

An employee conducts the final check to fix any cavity in the seams of a ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
6 / 13
<p>An employee uses hot air as she sticks outer panels on a soccer ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

An employee uses hot air as she sticks outer panels on a soccer ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

An employee uses hot air as she sticks outer panels on a soccer ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
7 / 13
<p>An employee checks the shape of a ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014.  REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

An employee checks the shape of a ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

An employee checks the shape of a ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
8 / 13
<p>Employees work near official 2014 World Cup balls at the final stage of their quality check inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

Employees work near official 2014 World Cup balls at the final stage of their quality check inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid more

Employees work near official 2014 World Cup balls at the final stage of their quality check inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
9 / 13
<p>An employee conducts a final check to fix any cavity in the seams of a ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

An employee conducts a final check to fix any cavity in the seams of a ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

An employee conducts a final check to fix any cavity in the seams of a ball inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
10 / 13
<p>An employee takes finished balls out of the production area inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid</p>

An employee takes finished balls out of the production area inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

An employee takes finished balls out of the production area inside the soccer ball factory that produces official match balls for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in Sialkot, Punjab province May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid

Close
11 / 13
<p>Belgium's national soccer team player Adnan Januzaj plays with a ball during a training session in Genk, Belgium May 19, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir</p>

Belgium's national soccer team player Adnan Januzaj plays with a ball during a training session in Genk, Belgium May 19, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Belgium's national soccer team player Adnan Januzaj plays with a ball during a training session in Genk, Belgium May 19, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Close
12 / 13
<p>France's national soccer team players Mathieu Debuchy (L) and Patrice Evra play with soccer balls during a training session in Clairefontaine, near Paris. REUTERS/Charles Platiau</p>

France's national soccer team players Mathieu Debuchy (L) and Patrice Evra play with soccer balls during a training session in Clairefontaine, near Paris. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

France's national soccer team players Mathieu Debuchy (L) and Patrice Evra play with soccer balls during a training session in Clairefontaine, near Paris. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Close
13 / 13

Next Slideshows

Highest-paid footballers

The world's top-earning footballers.

15 May 2014

FIFA rankings

The top-ranked teams heading into the World Cup.

10 May 2014

The beautiful game

A celebration of soccer's next generation.

09 May 2014

Storming the field

When fans run onto the sports field.

05 May 2014

MORE IN PICTURES

Athletes protest racial injustice

Athletes protest racial injustice

Athletes stage on-field protests against police brutality and racial injustice, as President Donald Trump urges fans to consider an NFL boycott.

Merkel wins German election

Merkel wins German election

Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in office but her conservatives haemorrhaged support in the face of a surge by the far-right.

Prince Harry opens Invictus Games

Prince Harry opens Invictus Games

Prince Harry, Melania Trump and Justin Trudeau help kick off the Invictus Games in Toronto, where more than 550 injured and wounded servicemen and women from 17 allied nations take part in 12 adaptive sports.

Hurricane Maria slams Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria slams Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria dumped heavy rain on the U.S. territory after destroying buildings and knocking out power to the entire island.

Inside the U.N. General Assembly

Inside the U.N. General Assembly

World leaders from 193 member states gather for the global body's annual meeting.

Jewish New Year

Jewish New Year

Jewish faithful around the world celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

Countdown to German election

Countdown to German election

On the campaign trail as Germans prepare to go to the polls.

Photos of the week

Photos of the week

Our top photos from the past week.

Mexico reels after devastating earthquake

Mexico reels after devastating earthquake

Rescuers toil to find survivors in the rubble after a devastating earthquake in central Mexico killed more than 200 people.

Trending Collections

Pictures

Podcast