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Question Number: 32338

High School 3/28/2018

RE: High School High School

Tim Cottongim of Juneau, AK United States asks...

It would appear from the casual observer that the NFHS stamp requirement on high school game balls is nothing more than a way to make money for the national high school association. Assuming we use a high quality FIFA/USSF approved ball, can you provide any legitimate rationale for using a ball with the NFHS stamp?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tim
All or most organizations that use equipment have authentication marks that indicate that the equipment has been manufactured to a particular standard that satisfies the playing rules of the game. NFHS is no different.
FIFA has a similar authentication mark programme for footballs.
I know from examining a ball that depending if the mark is present or not the standard of the ball and therefore its playing quality.
I can assure you that there is a significant difference between a ball with one of the two FIFA logos and one that has none. I sometimes see cheap training balls and replica balls at games that while they may look acceptable they do not play well. As a result players will quickly react to a poor standard ball being thrown in to replace a proper match ball. The logo is the identification that it meets a standard or not rather than a referee having to assess whether it does or not and all that entails such as size, weight, materials etc.
To get the relevant mark manufacturers must pass the required manufacturing standard as set down in the specification.
As to the need for a NFHS process when a FIFA system already exists NFHS states that the required modest fee to be paid by the participating manufacturer, to use the Authenticating Mark Program generates revenue to support additional services to benefit student-athletes, athletic administrators, coaches and officials.
I would be of the opinion that the use of an authentication mark removes any complaint by a team about a football and its suitability.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Although It is true that the NFHS gets an income from the ball company, the NFHS trademark assures the quality of the ball. As is required in NFHS Rule 2-1, it is responsibility of the home team to provide the official NFHS ball. If the home team cannot provide the official balls, you, the referee, may select three other balls from those offered by both teams.

Also, as the referee, you should report to your high school activities association that the home team is not providing the required ball. I believe that Sandi Wagner is the soccer liaison for your activities association.

I hope that you have a successful season and get to work the high school championships in Anchorage in May.

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