JOHANNESBURG -- FIFA acknowledges there might be something wrong with the Jabulani World Cup ball, but won't act on any problems until after the tournament.
Many players have likened the Jabulani to a "supermarket ball," saying it is too unpredictable and flies through the air too easily.
"We're not deaf," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said Saturday. "FIFA is not unreceptive about what has been said about the ball."
Valcke said FIFA will discuss the matter with coaches and teams after the World Cup, then meet with manufacturer adidas.
"There are rules for size and weight. ... But the ball has to be perfect," he added.
Goalkeepers have complained about the ball at every recent World Cup, although this time forwards and even coaches have added their laments.
Brazil coach Dunga got into a verbal spat with Valcke over the Jabulani before the tournament, challenging the FIFA executive to come out onto the pitch and attempt controlling it.
Denmark defender Daniel Agger said the ball made some outfielders look like "drunken sailors."
The Jabulani could create even more problems in the knockout phase beginning Saturday, when games could be decided by penalty kick shootouts.
"The balls have changed over the last couple of years. They have become a lot faster, and in addition to that in Johannesburg we are playing at an altitude of 1,700 meters, which makes the ball even faster," former Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said. "Thus, the goalkeepers work even harder, but I don't think that we can take the ball or the altitude as excuses."
Adidas has made the World Cup ball since 1970 and is contracted through 2014. The German company has defended the Jabulani, saying it doesn't know what the fuss is about because all the qualified teams were given the ball before the tournament to test it.
"There's a lot of talk about stadiums, infrastructure and TV and that's nice and all, but first we've got to worry about balls, spikes and jerseys," Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said. "I don't see why we can't just go back to the old black-and-white checkered version we all played with as kids."
As for the aesthetics, Valcke said the ball had been criticized in the past as too colorful, and that's why this version is more white.
Valcke also announced Saturday FIFA won't alter the way it apportions spots for the tournament despite the struggles of teams from Europe and Africa at this World Cup.
"There is no discussion about slots for the future, we have 32 teams," Valcke said.
Of the 13 European teams that started this World Cup, only six made it to the final 16. That's fewer than at the last three World Cups stretching back to 1998, when the tournament expanded to 32 teams.
Of the six African entrants, only Ghana advanced, while teams from South America and Asia filled seven spots in the last 16.
"All the confederations are moving up and getting stronger," Valcke said. "It shows that Europe is not as strong as in the past. There are a number of explanations: some teams did not change enough from 2006; maybe also these European players play a lot of games, but most of the players on Brazil and Argentina play in Europe, too -- in fact most of the players on all these teams play in Europe.
"Mainly, I think football in other countries is more strong than in the past."
Under the current breakdown, Europe has 13 entries, Africa 5 (plus the host this time), Asia and South America 4.5 each, CONCACAF (North and Central America and Caribbean) 3.5 and Oceania 0.5.
Playoffs featuring Oceania vs. Asia and South America vs. CONCACAF explain the fractions.
"We were hoping that we will also see African teams in the next round and the last four, and clearly that has not happened," local organizing committee chief Danny Jordaan said. "I think it's a lesson for all of us on this continent that our ability both to play and to organize was tested during the event, and there's a lot of work to do between now and 2014."
Valcke said FIFA would be open to discussing how to create more time between the end of European club seasons and the start of future World Cups.
"That's something to do at the meeting with all 32 teams and coaches after the World Cup," he said. "It will definitely be discussed by the technical group."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.