It's not just the World Cup that switches things up. The Euro Cup for instance, used the Tango 12 back in 2012 and this year is using the Beau Jeu.
Just the fact that these ball have names has me shaking my head. Can you imagine a baseball having a name and its design being changed every few years? Or an (American) football with a name? Part of the beauty of those sports is that the designs are so constant. Unless partially deflated, a football is a football is a football. Why would such an well established game as this need to keep changing the ball? (Obviously Adidas is making some money off of all this, but it can't be that much.)
The differences in these balls are not just the color, but the actual construction. The number of pieces in the skin and their joints are always in play and that translates into different aerodynamics, such as how the player can bend the ball when it is kicked. That means that every few years or so, or maybe even just between different competitions, the players have to adjust to a different ball.
Since FIFA is fine with such adjustments, why not start adjusting other things. Let's make the goal a couple of meters taller in all international competitions (that way guys wide open with the ball in front of the net with a sterling chance to score will have a harder time sailing it clear over the top). Don't worry - the keepers will adjust.
[*] Other things I don't understand include:
- Why can't the players do a better job of drawing a foul? You can see better acting at a 6th grade school play. Surely there must be some actors who are soccer fans that would be thrilled to help coach that skill
- Why don't they have retractable/removable flags in the corners? There are no other obstructions anywhere on the field except in the corners. I think we could devise a simple solution.