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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 26559

Law 2 - The Ball 7/18/2012

RE: Select Under 16

Tony of Windsor, Ontario Canada asks...

Some of the first rules in the rule book refer to the ball. Its size, shape, weight, and air pressure. The game balls are supplied to the ref by the home team. If the coach decides he would like the soccer balls to be on the soft side (lower pressure) or hard side, but still within the legal parameters dictated by FIFA, can the referee inflate the balls to his liking or must he leave them as they are since they fall within the legal limits?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tony
Once the ball is within the legal limits that is all that matters. You will find though that if a coach want the ball to be 'soft' the pressure will be below the 8.5 lbs/sq in. The ball should be inflated to the 8.5 lbs minimum. If while checking the pressure it is above 8.5 then I would not inflate any further. When I inflate a ball I never go beyond 9.5/10 as there is no need for it.
I would also say that many referees do not have pressure gauges to check ball pressure. Most use the 'thumb pressure' method which they have honed through experience.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The formal answer is that if the ball provided by the home team meets the required specifications, it is legal and may be used.

But, the real answer is that only the referee can decide if the ball meets the required specifications. My experience is that a 'soft' ball is always well below the minimum and a 'hard' ball rarely is. But, when players on both teams are complaining the ball is too hard, I'm going to let some of the air out. (I carry a pressure guage only because it makes it easy to release air.)

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