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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Football tests

Football tests

Professional players and up-and-coming stars all need the best possible footballs to be able to perfect their skills. A football must respond in the same way every time it is struck, whether it is in the 90th minute of play or straight from the first kick-off. The smallest defect affects the flight of the ball, its conduct on the pitch and ultimately the entire match.
To ensure the highest possible quality for outdoor, futsal and beach soccer balls and to make it instantly recognisable all around the world, FIFA introduced the FIFA Quality Concept. Footballs aretested in a laboratory and only balls that comply with FIFA’s high standards receive one of the quality marks: FIFA INSPECTED, or the even higher standard, FIFA APPROVED.
A ball must successfully pass six tests to qualify for this label. The tests check the ball’s weightcircumferenceroundnessbouncewater absorption and loss of pressure.
To gain the top FIFA APPROVED seal of quality, a ball must pass each of these six tests under even more demanding conditions. The constancy of the shape and size of the ball is scrutinised in a seventh test. The ball is fired against a steel plate 2,000 times at 50km per hour. The ball passes the test only if all of its seams and air valves remain unscathed and any loss of pressure and changes in circumference and roundness are negligible.

What should you look for when buying a football?

When you go into a sports shop, you will find rows and rows of footballs lining the walls. Choosing the right one almost seems like a game of chance and there is no way of testing a ball before you buy it.
However, if you want a high-quality ball that retains its important properties, you need only to look for the FIFA INSPECTED or FIFA APPROVED quality mark. It is as simple as that!

How the tests are implemented

The footballs are inflated with compressed air to a pressure of 0.8 ±0.005 bar.
The air pressure in the football is measured with a pressure gauge, and between the pressure gauge and the needle is a valve through which air can be released. The needle is lubricated with glycerin.
The footballs are conditioned for at least 24 hours in a standard atmosphere of temperature of 20°C ±2°C and relative humidity of 65% ±5%.
Circumference (test for outdoor, futsal and beach soccer balls)

Consistent circumference

The size of a football must meet defined standards. This is crucial for players to make accurate passes and go on thrilling dribbles. Could you imagine everyone playing with different sized footballs?
Nowadays, footballs are inflated to a defined pressure and then the ball’s radius is measured at 45,000 points. The circumference is calculated arithmetically in order to ensure that the circumference is consistent and within the limits at every point.
Test Criteria for Outdoor footballs
Ball Size 5Ball Size 4
68.5 - 69.5 cm68.0 - 70.0 cm63.5 - 66.0 cmball pressure: 0.8 bar
Test Criteria for Beach Soccer footballs
68.0 - 70.0 cm68.0 - 70.0 cmball pressure: mean value
Test Criteria for Futsal footballs
62.5 - 63.5 cm62.0 - 64.0 cmball pressure: mean value

Anecdotes from the football archives

Elephant excels in penalty shoot-out
Back in the 1890s, long before there were any FIFA standards governing the circumference of the ball, an elephant caused red faces among the professional players at English club Leicester Fosse when Sanger’s Circus bet that no-one could score past its elephant in a penalty shoot-out using an oversize ball.
Leicester Fosse nominated four players to go up against the jumbo goalkeeper. Three failed to beat the elephant and only William Keech managed to put the ball in the net by outwitting the huge animal after feinting to one side before striking his spot kick.