There are so many variables in the game of football today that FIFA has taken steps to ensure consistency in two of the game's most important elements - the ball and the playing surface.

In 1995 FIFA introduced a quality certification programme for footballs which puts balls through demanding laboratory tests representing match conditions. The FIFA Quality Concept for Footballs allows manufacturers to enter into a licensing agreement for the use of the FIFA hallmark on footballs which pass a rigorous testing procedure. This programme has since been integrated into the Laws of the Game and subsequently those balls bearing either the FIFA APPROVED or FIFA INSPECTED mark have become a fixture at all international football matches.

The introduction of artificial turf of the newest generation sparked renewed interest in hosting official matches on this type of surface. The introduction of the FIFA Quality Concept for Artificial Turf in 2001 was a response to the growing trend to play football on quality artificial surfaces. Under this programme a manufacturer may apply for a licence to use the FIFA RECOMMENDED mark in conjunction with installed pitches that successfully pass a laboratory and field-testing procedure.

The FIFA Quality Concept aims to remove any inconsistencies in the performance of the ball or irregularities in its behaviour on artificial surfaces. Standardized football equipment takes the guesswork out of football and allows the players' skills to decide the outcome of a match.

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