Officials in the NFL have taken the decision to introduce a smaller football for the remaining games of the season, when field conditions are considered difficult.

Developed by sports scientists at UCLA, the new “Fumball” measures 3 inches less in length and 2 less in diameter than the regular football and is coated with a specially produced ‘anti slip’ coating.

Sources at the NFL state that statistics gathered show a 34% increase in fumbles during open play when the weather conditions are excessively cold, wet or snowy.

“It’s not good for the flow of the game” remarked NFL’s Match Engagement Officer Ted Butterino . “By reducing the size we can ensure that the football stays in play for longer periods” he explained. “This is good for crowd participation and TV coverage”.

However, advertisers are said to be angered by the ruling, stating that “fumble time” acts as a valuable revenue period (VRP) during the course of a match. “We rank VRP at the top of our list of priorities” said broadcast executive Chuck Slipper. “No fumbles, no ads. It’s as simple as that”

It is understood the decision to introduce the new football into the game will be taken by the field umpire if they consider that playing conditions are becoming unreasonably difficult. All other regulations will remain unchanged throughout the period the new football is in play.

Representatives for the players and supporter groups are yet to comment on the new initiative.