New technical and medical knowledge also has a major impact on football and the development of players’ equipment such as boots, shirts, football turf or balls. To make this development in the area of balls even more effective, FIFA is launching three new studies.

FIFA Player Perception Study: focus on the professionals’ requirements
In October 2012, FIFA launched a new study into balls in cooperation with the University of Loughborough and the professional footballers’ union, FIFPro. The Player Perception Study is designed to identify the playing characteristics of balls that professional footballers believe are the most important. As part of this study, professional footballers all around the world will be asked what makes an ideal ball. The first results are expected in mid-2013.

Database analysis
As well as the Player Perception Study, results of ball tests from the past 16 years will be evaluated and analysed with EMPA (Swiss Institute for Materials Science and Technology) to gain valuable insights for the quality assurance and technological development of balls.

Developments to help nurture young talent
FIFA’s activities are not just restricted to professional and adult football, however, as shown by another current study focusing on the youth game. This study will be conducted in cooperation with F-MARC (FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre) to investigate the requirements for special children’s balls, with the main focus on medical aspects. The results will lead, among other things, to recommendations for the ideal size and optimum weight of balls for various age groups. The objective is to better support children in their football development by providing suitable material.