English Football League (EFL) chiefs have been forced to defend their choice of match ball following criticism from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola in the wake of their Carabao Cup tie with Wolves on Tuesday.
Guardiola labelled the Mitre ball, which is different to the Nike model used in the Premier League, “unacceptable” after the fourth-round match, which ended goal-less but that City won on penalties.
The EFL responded on Wednesday by insisting that the Mitre ball had passed the tests required by world governing body Fifa for use in the professional game.
“Clearly, preference is a subjective matter, but overall the entertainment provided across [the] ties would suggest that the ball used is not having a negative impact in the competition,” the EFL said.
“We will look to engage with Mr Guardiola and Manchester City to fully understand any concerns in advance of their round-five tie.”
Guardiola said it would have been “a miracle” if City striker Sergio Aguero had scored the goal that he needs to become the club’s outright record scorer in the Wolves match, adding that the Mitre ball made it “impossible”.
“If it’s for the marketing, for the money, for many reasons, it’s okay but it’s not acceptable to play with that ball,” he said.
“No weight, nothing. It’s bad. The ball is unacceptable for the high of level of the competition. All the players complain. I assure you all of them say ‘what is that?’ Really. I am sorry Carabao Cup.”
City midfielder Yaya Toure said the ball was “too light” and “too soft”. “Even in my country they can’t use those kind of balls,” the Ivory Coast international added. “It’s rubbish.”
The Mitre ball is also used in the Championship, League One and League Two, competitions that are also organised by the EFL.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo, whose Championship leaders have played with the Mitre ball all season in the second tier, admitted they were “more used to it”.