FIFA rules say the ball has to:
If anything happens to the ball during play, a new one must first be approved by the referee and the match is restarted by a drop ball, if it was in play, or by whatever restart would be appropriate if it was out of play. FIFA says a ball has to be approved by FIFA to be used in match play.
There are balls of many sizes. There are small size 3 and size 4 balls for youth play, and even smaller "speed" balls for training. There are weighted balls for indoor play and keeper training. The most important thing is to know which size is appropriate for the use to which you are going to put it! Local rules usually specify which size will be used for given age groups.
Materials also vary. So do methods of construction. It is generally accepted that hand-sewn leather balls with latex internal bladders provide the nicest feel during play, everything else being equal. Weather and skill can affect these things. A more skilled team will generally prefer a "hard" ball--one inflated to FIFA maximum. A team with a low degree of skill will usually prefer a "soft" ball...even one which is under-inflated by the rules standards. Cold weather can cause a ball which was properly inflated to become soft, and it can cause non-hand-stitched balls to feel "hard"...synthetic materials used to make molded balls becomes stiff when cold. In wet weather, a hand-sewn leather ball without a coating can soak up water and soon weigh a whole lot more than one pound...not fun to head! Fortunately, the very best balls are hand-sewn leather with a very thin plastic coating which keeps them from picking up water, but which does not get hard and stiff when cold.
Some people have claimed that the "FIFA Approved" stuff is nothing more than a fund-raiser for the sanctioning body. Manufacturers must meet specifications, but must also pay a fee, to use the approval. By forcing everyone to use "FIFA Inspected" balls, the organization is in effect taxing everyone who plays in sanctioned matches. But it's a small price to pay. It probably doesn't make the balls better, but maybe it helps keep club fees down in the very, very, very long run.
Because picking up the spin is very important to good play. The multi-colored panels make it easier to see the spin, and they are allowed by the LOTG.
If you hold a ball head-high and drop it on firm ground, is should bounce back up waist high. Experienced coaches and referees can tell by squeezing a ball if its inflation is within standards. When pressed, the ball should give about the amount from the tip of the finger to the top of a clipped fingernail -- about 1/8 in -- and feel comfortable without feeling soft. Under-inflated balls also make a characteristic dull sound when kicked---sort of like smacking a piece of meat on a counter.
Toss into the air with spin on it. It should rotate evenly. If you detect a wobble, you've probably got an out of round ball.
Unfortunately for your team, the referee was quite right. If a ball becomes deflated or bursts during play, play is stopped and restarted with the new ball at the point where the ball first became defective, which means a goal cannot be scored with a burst ball, i.e., if a player kicks the ball with such force that it bursts but the remains go into the goal, the apparent goal will be disallowed and the game restarted with the new ball at the point where it was kicked. Presumably the referee thought that the ball was not actually in play when it burst, i.e. he thought the ball had not yet moved, because if a ball bursts while in play, the match is restarted with a drop ball.
As long as your match is not a "FIFA Competition", you can use any ball which meets the specifications laid out in Law 2 (see the Thumbnail or the text of the law for details). In the interests of fairness and safety, you should definitely avoid using balls which are noticeably out of round, have missing or defective panels, are too large for your players or are over- or under-inflated, but other than that, you should feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
Any ball which could be deemed unsafe (see previous questions for examples) should be avoided. Many people try to avoid balls which are produced with the use of child labor by using balls from manufacturers who guarantee that their products are made by adults, but it is very hard to be absolutely sure of the origin of any soccer ball.
So long as the ball in use meets all the standards under the LOTG, none. The referee is the judge of all facts concerning the game, including whether the ball being used is sufficient. Often, local league practice is that the home team provides the ball, which does offer some minor opportunity for gamesmanship as to the "feel" and inflation of the ball chosen. Nevertheless, all decisions as to which ball will be used are up to the referee, not the coaches. Coaches should never attempt to change game balls or change the inflation of the game ball without the referee's prior approval during the game! This could be considered sneaky misconduct which could get the coach expelled from the field if the referee is incensed enough.
Here's some constructive suggestions:
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