With the first game of the World Cup kicking off today, a US software company has warned that the official FIFA World Cup website is likely to experience slow load times and crashes because the governing body has failed to make a number of important updates.

Compuware, which describes itself as a technology performance company, used its dynaTrace monitoring tool to conduct a health check on the official FIFA desktop and mobile browser websites in a bid to establish what kind of experience visitors can expect to receive during the tournament. 

The firm said it identified three key flaws in the FIFA website that could be “easily fixed” ahead of the tournament.

Firstly, the desktop and mobile websites were found to be downloading a large number of image files, including individual flags and venue photos, which can create severe performance problems during periods of peak demand, because the data centre supporting the site is forced to serve up a large volume of requests each time it is loaded.

Compuware claims that FIFA could merge all these files into one individual “sprite” to get round this issue.

Another issue is the size of the bookmarking icon that allows website visitors to favourite the FIFA website.

Most websites have “relatively small” icons but FIFA’s is 370KB on both mobile and desktop versions of the website, according to Compuware. If this issue was addressed then the size of the webpage would be reduced by seven percent and the load times would be cut further.

Finally, Compuware found that several of the website’s JavaScript files are out of date.

Compuware claims that using outdated frameworks such as these can result in poor website performance as the newer versions have been optimised for modern browsers.

Compuware technology strategist Andreas Grabner said: "You'd expect that FIFA would have invested heavily in making sure that its site was geared up to handle a surge in visitors over the next few weeks.

“It comes as a real surprise to see that, in reality, it has a number of very basic design flaws that could drag it down as it comes under pressure. Our analysis indicates strongly that page load times could become very slow during the World Cup tournament, or the website may even crash if demand is very high."

Grabner added: "These aren't difficult issues to fix at all; it's very easy to shave off the excess kilobytes, reduce unnecessary roundtrips and thereby optimise the site's performance.

“We'd expect to see page load times decreasing by around 30 percent if the areas we've highlighted were addressed.”

Compuware's full analysis of the FIFA desktop and mobile browser website performance, can be found here

FIFA had not responded to Techworld ahead of publication.