BISFed will soon have licensed boccia balls to ensure quality in the sport ©BISFed

The Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) is set to give licenses to up to eight international manufacturers of balls, in a bid to create equality and fairness with its equipment.

BISFed hopes the licensed balls will be available for all athletes to purchase from June.

They will then be officially introduced at World Cup Series competitions and the World Championships in 2022.

From 2023, licensed balls will be required at World Boccia Intercontinental Challenger Series competitions and other BISFed-sanctioned events.

All 13 manufacturers which applied for a license were required to submit their boccia balls for pre-testing, to ensure compliance with boccia rules, consistency of performance and quality of manufacture. 

Testing was carried out by an independent expert.

Manufacturers are required to ensure their products are consistent with those tested, and that they are globally accessible and available to all athletes.

Boccia ball rules were tightened ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympics ©Getty Images
Boccia ball rules were tightened ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympics ©Getty Images

Due to issues caused by super soft balls, a drop test was required at competitions in 2014 and, from there, studies were carried out to find the best approach going forward. 

Sliding boccia balls were banned ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympics and, later in 2016, discussions started over a ball licensing concept.

The issue was then further discussed at the BISFed General Assembly and last year the route forward was approved by the Board.

"Our purpose is to ensure a more controlled environment for boccia balls in international competition in which every athlete has access to the same type and quality of licensed boccia balls," said BISFed President David Hadfield.

"The project team which advised the Board on this initiative included representatives from the relevant interested parties: athletes, referees and coaches."

BISFed said they will announce the successful manufacturers "very shortly" on the World Boccia website.