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   2 June, 2002 | 1330 IST



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FIFA slams the ball talk

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FIFA dismissed complaints about the new, high-tech ball being used at the World Cup finals and suggested on Sunday that the players had simply imagined the problems.

Although England's David Beckham is among its fans, some players have called the new Adidas "Fevernova" ball uncontrollable, too big or just plain "stupid".

But FIFA's communications director Keith Cooper told a news conference: "It's a bit strange. The ball produced for the World Cup was given to qualifying teams in December. It is not as if players have never seen it before.

David Beckham has a feel of the new ball"Most of the teams have been playing with it for six months. There is no reason to believe it behaves differently in Korea and Japan than in any other part of the world."

He continued: "I remember a match I was responsible for in 1982 when both teams played with a ball they had never seen in their life.

"It was a standard Adidas ball but it had been painted with an emblem. It was exactly the same ball but all the players complained about it. Very often the appearance makes it look far more different than it really is."

Sports equipment maker Adidas says the "Fevernova" ball provides the ultimate soccer experience. Splashed with gold colouring, it is 25 per cent more accurate than the ball used at the 1998 finals due to meticulous testing by scientists.

It adds that the ball flies faster due to its unique design giving free-kick specialists like Beckham more power.

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