Have you ever been browsing through the football selections at FN Teamwear and seen labels such as FIFA Approved and IMS written on the footballs? If you're in the know then you'll know exactly what these mean, if not then read on and you soon will be!
In this article we'll let you know exactly what each FIFA stamp means, meaning you'll know exactly what you're getting for your money whether you're buying a match ball, training ball or a replica for a kickabout.
FIFA Quality Pro
FIFA Quality Pro is the highest accolade that can be awarded to any ball and is reserved for only the best standard of match ball available. To gain this, the ball design must go through rigorous testing at a neutral ball testing facility in Switzerland. There are seven tests that are run before the Quality Pro stamp is awarded...
Weight: The weight is vitally important, as if it is too light it will quickly be branded a "flyaway", and if it's too heavy then the players will expel too much energy kicking it for 90 minutes. A Quality Pro ball must weigh between 420-445 grams.
Circumference: To ensure consistency, all approved footballs must be the same size. They are inflated to the defined match pressure, then the circumference is measured. To pass this test the ball must measure between 68.5-69.5 centimetres,
Roundness: If a ball isn't round, then it won't fly true - simple as that. A Quality Pro ball is mathematically measured in 45,000 points on it to ensure a perfectly round ball.
Bounce: If a ball doesn't bounce correctly, it will be virtually impossible for a player to control it with his chest or feet. A Quality Pro ball is dropped 10 times onto a steel plate from a distance of 2 metres. The temperatures are then changed from heated conditions to below freezing and the Quality Pro ball must consistently bounce between 135-155 centimetres high.
Water Absorption: We've all used a rubbish football at some point that just soaks up the water when it rains. What happens to it? It soon becomes heavy, hard and doesn't fly properly. The Quality Pro ball is tested to make sure water absorption is kept to an absolute minimum. It is immersed in a tank of water, squeezed and turned 250 times and then tested to make sure it has absorbed no more than 10% of the ball's capacity in water.
Loss of Pressure: The pressure of a ball has to be consistent throughout the entirety of a match, if it varied then the ball's flight would become unpredictable. A Quality Pro ball is pumped up in the laboratory and left for 72 hours - by which point it cannot have lost more than 20% of its pressure or it would fail the test.
Shape & Size Retention: This test is only used on FIFA Quality Pro footballs and it's designed to ensure the ball can keep its shape under all conditions. The ball is fired at a steel plate at 31mph no fewer than 2,000 times! Only balls which suffer the most minor of alterations under these conditions receive the approved stamp.
FIFA Quality/International Match Standard
The FIFA Quality logo is given to match balls suitable for use in International friendlies and Confederation matches. An inspected ball undergoes the same testing as an approved ball with the exception of the shape & size retention test.
A FIFA Quality ball does not have to reach the same specifications as a Quality Pro ball, though it is still tested very thoroughly and the "Quality" label certainly isn't handed out freely.
FIFA Quality & International Match Standard footballs are essentially the same thing, only the latter is actually just an unlicensed version of the former. In addition to this, the testing for an IMS ball is not carried out at the specialist facility in Switzerland.
FN Teamwear specialise in all kinds of footballs for all levels of play. View our selections below.
Match Balls - Including FIFA Quality Pro, FIFA Quality & IMS footballs.
Training Balls - Specially designed hard-wearing footballs for year-round training sessions.
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