The European Handball Federation is the umbrella organisation for handball in Europe and has 50 member federations and two associated federations. With headquarters in Vienna, Austria, the EHF’s responsibilities include the organisation and management of the world’s most high-profile and competitive handball competitions, including the EHF Champions League and EHF EURO events.

The company was founded in 1947 by Eigil Nielsen, the Danish national football team’s goal keeper. He participated in 28 national matches from 1940-1951 and won bronze with Denmark at the Olympic Games in London in 1948. In Eigil Nielsen’s days top players could not live solely from their sport so he chose to train as a sports psychologist and also had a job in the shoe and leather industry. Here he created the first SELECT football. In 1951 Eigil Nielsen entered into an agreement with the Danish Football Association on supplying footballs to the national football team’s matches. As something completely new, the SELECT football had no outside cord. This meant that the ball retained its round shape much better and that the cord was not a nuisance when kicking or heading. The improvement was a radical new invention.


At this time, all footballs were made up of eight sections of cow leather which most of all looked like a brown leather orange. Later 18 oblong strips were used before SELECT in 1962 introduced one of the greatest inventions in the history of football – the 32-section ball.


At the beginning of the 1970s Eigil Nielsen was again a forerunner when he and SELECT brought out a handball with 32 sections. In 1974 SELECT moved away from cow leather and made the first hand-sewn synthetic leather ball. This material quickly became the material of choice instead of real leather and today practically all balls are made of synthetic leather, regardless of brand.All sorts of football and handball tournaments are still played with balls based on Eigil Nielsen’s 32-section principle – just as all the balls produced in the world today are built on his innovation.


In addition to balls, the company’s range now comprises literally everything within equipment for particularly football, futsal and handball, including sports supports, sports care, goalkeeper gloves, boots and shoes, training equipment and clothing.



Because of their quality, DERBYSTAR products played an important role in Germany’s Bundesliga from the very beginning. In the company’s first year, German football club MSV Duisburg put its trust in the company’s quality balls. Shortly thereafter, the famous “Fohlen”, i.e. the German football club Borussia Mönchengladbach, played with DERBYSTAR balls as well. In the 1979/80 season, DERBYSTAR balls were used on all football fields of Germany’s Bundesliga for flanking, heading and shooting. As the great former champion Hennes Weisweiler used to put it: “DERBYSTAR balls are not only round, they also have a life.”

Well-known professional clubs in Germany and abroad are still playing with quality balls by DERBYSTAR. All amateur and junior teams of renowned clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, VfL Bochum or Hannover 96 play with DERBYSTAR balls. Since the 2006/07 season, the DERBYSTAR Brillant APS has been the official match ball of the 1st Dutch league (Eredivisie).

In 2012, DERBYSTAR reached a historic figure: For the first time in the company’s long history it managed to sell more than 1 million balls in one year. The same year, DERBYSTAR’s iBall technology was recognized by FIFA as goal-line technology. In 2014, DERBYSTAR took over the German-wide distribution of SELECT products. From then on, DERBYSTAR specialized in footballs and retired from the handball segment under its own name. Products of the partner company SELECT are now offered for the handball segment.


A special proof of the quality of our products is our social commitment. DERBYSTAR has been a Fairtrade license partner since 2005, and it was the only renowned ball manufacturer to become a partner back then. Within this context, the production facility in Pakistan was certified and approved by FLO (Fairtrade Labour Organisation). In recent years, DERBYSTAR has also continuously and purposefully expanded its product range. In addition to balls of all kinds, the company now also offers team clothing, goalkeeper gloves, shin guards, ball accessories and sports bandages.

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