Soccer Ball Approvals - FIFA
FIFA APPROVED LOGO
FIFA INSPECTED LOGO
The above logo's are printed on all soccer balls that are either FIFA Approved or FIFA INSPECTED. Only the highest of quality balls can pass the testing requirements.
FIFA Denominations Programme
The testing procedures and designations offer many benefits to those who buy soccer balls (footballs) including guaranteed quality, value for money and better playing performance. Since January 1, 1996 only those outdoor footballs which have been tested and meet the demanding quality criteria, bearing either of the official markings 'FIFA Approved', 'FIFA Inspected' or 'International Matchball Standard (IMS),' are allowed to be used in FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association www.fifa.com ) competition matches and competition matches under the auspices of the six continental Confederations.
As of January 1, 2000 the quality testing and certification has also become compulsory for indoor footballs used for international matches under the auspices of FIFA and the Confederations.
FIFA has set out to ensure that the balls used in top matches meet the most exacting standards. It has meant a general upgrading of standards of footballs (soccer balls) throughout the world.
Testing procedures for the balls submitted for these designations are designed to simulate match conditions. Manufacturers have to submit seven balls if they are applying for "FIFA Inspected" status, and ten samples if they seek the "FIFA Approved" label. All these are put through their paces at EMPA, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research in St.Gallen.
There is another qualification level, too, less demanding than the others. This is the designation "International Matchball Standard", and for this the applicant footballs (soccer balls) can be sent to any of seven European test institutes which have been selected by FIFA to test and certify the balls for this category, which is free of any royalty fees.
There are a total of seven tests. All footballs are submitted for the first six and only potential "FIFA Approved" candidates for the seventh test, which is a shooting test for shape and size retention, including change of pressure.
However, the criteria for "FIFA Approved" footballs are higher throughout. For example, 25% loss of pressure is acceptable for a "FIFA Inspected" applicant, but only 20% for a "FIFA Approved" ball.
Referees of FIFA and Confederation matches are among the beneficiaries. They simply have to check that the ball carries one of the three marks and that the pressure is correct, rather than having to check weight, circumference and other details before matches.
The testing criteria are indeed tough, but they have been set by the industry itself. Only the best products pass the test, which means that the new standards are worthwhile. Licensees include most of the major leading brands and also manufacturers from India, China, Thailand and Japan, showing that the value put on the FIFA mark is as universal as football itself.
Related FIFA Magazine Articles:
tough with the Balls
Players think of the Modern Ball
Information and articles graciously provided by FIFA. www.fifa.com
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