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'Frankenbrooms' temporarily banned by World Curling Federation

The World Curling Federation has banned controversial brooms at the 2015 Pacific-Asia Championships beginning Sunday in Kazakhstan.

Controversial new brush head technology sweeping the sport

Olympic champion Brad Jacobs is among the skips who has pledged not to use brooms with so-called "directional fabric." (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The World Curling Federation has banned controversial brooms at the 2015 Pacific-Asia Championships beginning Sunday in Kazakhstan.

The WCF described the move in a statement released Friday as "an interim decision" while it develops an equipment policy to address recent brush head technology that could fundamentally change the sport.

Olympic gold medallists Brad Jacobs, Brad Gushue, Jennifer Jones and former world champion Glenn Howard were among 22 initial teams who signed a statement released Oct. 14, saying their teams will not sweep with brooms that have "directional fabric."

The number of teams endorsing the statement has climbed to almost 50.

Coarse material on the broom heads creates a sandpaper effect on the ice and with it, sweepers have been able to manipulate the rock's trajectory in ways they never could before. Some have dubbed the new equipment "Frankenbrooms."

Fearing that throwing accuracy and athleticism would be diminished, the curlers said they want to protect "the integrity of the game" in refusing to use the brush heads.

The WCF says team participating in the Pacific-Asia Championship in Almaty can't use brooms that are "modified, custom-made or home-made" and "only sweeping equipment available for sale to the public at retail outlets will be permitted."

"Most fabric used in curling brush heads is produced with two different sides: one that displays a weave, and one that is embossed, sealed or patterned and may appear 'plasticized,"' the WCF said in a statement. "The difference can usually be easily determined with the naked eye or a low-power magnifying device.

"The 'fibre weave' in any brush head fabric which comes into contact with the ice must be visible to players and umpires.

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