Quality Programme for Footballs starts a Technical Advisory Group

Following the example of the Quality Programme for Football Turf, FIFA has recently launched a Technical Advisory Group for its Quality Programme for Footballs.

Formed by a number of representatives, including FIFA’s licensees, the TAG formalises the stakeholder exchange on the technical discussions about improving the standard for footballs.

The launch of the TAG ties in with the 25th anniversary of the FIFA Quality Programme (FQP) for Footballs, an initiative established to set a global standard for footballs. With over 80 international licensees and 1,000 certified football models, the FQP has played an important role in the development of high-quality footballs over the past years.

The formation of the new Technical Advisory Group (TAG), and the call for technical experts to be part of it, aims to lay solid foundations for the future development of the quality standard for footballs, as well as for current and upcoming challenges in the industry. With new technology being introduced in the game and an increasing awareness in society about health and safety for players, as well as the environmental impact of manufacturing industries, FIFA is striving to tackle these challenges at the TAG proactively and in close collaboration with the industry and football stakeholders.

The first TAG meeting will be held on 24 February 2021 in virtual form, focusing on the review of the current standards and test methods, such as water absorption and loss of pressure tests, and potential developments to the test procedures, for example, the inclusion of a test method to measure the loss of surface texture and print. Moreover, the TAG will collaborate to review ongoing research projects and identify future ones that can be investigated through FIFA’s Research Programme. This includes the verification of the environmental impact of footballs during the production process or life cycle of a ball and the effect of new bonding methods on aerodynamics and heading impact.

TAG meetings are scheduled to take place twice a year, in addition to smaller working group meetings to investigate specific challenges posed during the TAG. While the working groups prepare a solution to the challenges, they have to present their work to the TAG where a decision on changes to the test methods is made by the representatives. The TAG has the power to implement changes to current test methods directly in the football standard, while final approval by The IFAB is mandatory for the integration of new test methods.

Besides FIFA, the initial composition of the TAG comprises representatives of licensees, manufacturers, member associations, confederations and industry experts that qualify due to their role as industry leaders. To maintain consistency in conversations, participants are appointed to the TAG for a period of two years.

Football licensees and the wider football industry will be regularly updated about the TAG’s work and its decisions during annual FQP meetings.