EFL plans Guardiola meeting after match-ball criticism

Pep Guardiola said the Mitre ball for his team’s EFL Cup match was "unacceptable" and the tournament organisers plan to discuss his concerns.

Claudio Bravo saves a penalty during the EFL Cup tie on Tuesday.   -  Getty Images

The EFL plans to talk to Pep Guardiola following his criticism of the match ball used in Manchester City’s penalty shoot-out victory over Wolves on Tuesday. City failed to find the net in 120 minutes of the fourth-round EFL Cup clash at the Etihad Stadium before heroics from goalkeeper Claudio Bravo enabled it to triumph 4-1 on penalties.

Guardiola was critical of the Mitre ball, which is usually used in Football League matches, saying it was "unacceptable for high-level competition."

In response to the Spaniard's comments, the EFL assured the ball meets the necessary requirements and is planning to discuss his concerns prior to City's next appearance in the competition.


An official statement EFL statement read: "The Mitre ball used… is of exactly the same technical specification as the balls used in the EFL and [EFL] Trophy, all of which are tested in accordance with the 'FIFA Quality Programme for Footballs' and meet the 'FIFA Quality Pro' standard. All balls used in the professional game are required to meet this standard.

‘Subjective matter’

"Clearly, preference is a subjective matter, but overall the entertainment provided across [Tuesday's] round-four ties would suggest that the ball used is not having a negative impact in the competition. We will look to engage with Mr Guardiola and Manchester City to fully understand any concerns in advance of their round-five tie."

Guardiola was unhappy with the movement of the ball but assured he was not trying to make excuses for his team's difficulties against Championship opponents. "It is not acceptable. The ball was unacceptable for a high-level competition," the Spaniard said.

"It is too light, it moves all over the place, it is not a good ball. It is impossible to score with a ball like that and I can say that because we won, I'm not making excuses. All of my players said, 'What is that?' [It's] not a serious ball for a serious competition. It's [for] marketing, money, OK but it's not acceptable – [it has] no weight, nothing."

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