Spherical footballs were invented shortly before the rules of association football were formalised. In 1855, Charles Goodyear designed and manufactured spherical footballs; these were made entirely of vulcanised rubber.[9] In 1863, the English Football Association was formed and the rules of association football were established. However, there was no description on the ball size until 1873 when it was decided that the ball "must be spherical with a circumference of 2728 in (6971 cm)." This rule still applies for the association football official matches played today all over the world. The early rules specified a weight of 1315 oz (370430 g) which was however changed in 1937 to the current accepted weight, 1416 oz (400450 g). At the same time, the association agreed that the official association football ball must be covered in leather or any approved material. A direct consequence of establishing the laws of the game by the English Football Association was the mass production of association football balls. The first two companies that started producing association football balls in larger quantities were Mitre and Thomlinson from Glasgow. They produced balls made of leather because they wanted to produce good quality association football balls that will retain their form after use. On the other hand, they preferred stitching the panels since that means better quality and better and longer resistance in what the ball concerns. The best covers which resulted in very expensive association football balls were the ones made from the rump of a cow. By the 20th century, the official balls were produced with rubber bladders which were able to withstand heavier pressure.[10] Until the 1950s the official balls used during association football matches had dark colors because of the color of the leather. In 1951 a white ball was first permitted to help spectators see the ball easier with the advent of floodlights. Even if they were used earlier in unofficial games, the official association football balls were permitted only in the mid-20th century.

The Chip-enabled association football ball is a football which was invented by Adidas, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated circuits in Erlangen and the company Cairos Technologies. The ball contains an integrated ASIC-Chip and a transmitter for the transfer of data.[13] The chip is suspended in the middle of the association football ball and sends a signal to a receiver at the referee's wrist once the ball passed the outer goal-line. The first tests were performed in Nuremberg. The stadium is equipped with twelve antennas in light masts and other locations distributed around the arena which collect data that is transmitted from the chip. The antennas are connected to a fiber optic cable which routes the data to servers in order to analyze them. The system was first used during the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru.