The FIFA Quality Programme for Footballs used the opportunity presented by the biennial International Trade Fair for Amenity Areas, Sports and Pool Facilities (FSB) in Cologne to convene its “Development of Football Quality” working group for its third meeting and a discussion of its latest research findings.

The group of experts, made up of programme licensees and representatives of research institutes, test institutes and universities, analysed the results of ongoing studies to determine the test requirements and methods for 2015. The basis of all studies and topics of discussion were the results of the player perception survey carried out this year by Loughborough University, with professional players being asked about what they expected and required of a ball. Ball rebound and ball weight (assessed in terms of weight gain due to water absorption) are criteria relating to the current test protocol:

  • Ball rebound:
    A basic study into ball rebound at sub-zero temperatures showed a larger variance in bounce from certain balls as well as between various types of balls. Further tests will be carried out in order to define a possible test procedure.
  • Water absorption:
    Based on an analysis of the ball’s test history by EMPA, the basic technical development of balls and a computer simulation to calculate the influence of water absorption of footballs upon ball impact at headers by the Technical University of Munich, it has been decided that water absorption should be reduced. Exact data will follow in early 2014.

The studies, topics of discussion and decisions will be discussed with the licensees at the annual meeting during the ISPO in January 2014 so that the new test manual for 2015 can be drawn up.