Vanishing spray, named 9:15 Fairplay after the amount of distance between the defensive wall and the free-kick taker, is making its way from the 2014 World Cup to the UEFA Champions League for the 2014-2015 season and could be heading to the Premier League after that. Having been considered a huge success in keeping the defensive wall at 10 feet during free kicks, inventor Heine Allegmagne confirmed that the spray will be used by UEFA referees as well in the upcoming season.
The spray was not always popular and according to Allegmagne some of the higher ups, including FIFA President Sepp Blatter, needed to be convinced that this was a problem that needed to be solved, “Some people needed convincing like them. Blatter was skeptical in the beginning but then realized this solved a football problem.”
Allegmagne worked with a company to create the spray out of vegetable oil that disappears after one minute after hearing an announcer on the radio complain that defenders were encroaching the offense during free kicks, the referees also spray a half circle around the balls before they’re kicked to make sure they stay in place.
The World Cup was not the first place the spray has been used, MLS and several leagues in Brazil and Argentina have been using it since 2000 and find it extremely helpful. Paul Rejer has expressed his support stating, “We find the vanishing spray to be extremely useful and very effective in ensuring the defenders are 10 yards from the ball,” Rejer is the training and development manager for the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) the body that provides referees for MLS, NASL and USL PRO.
The referees chief for the Premier League, Mike Riley, is said to be assembling a report to help decide weather the League will supply their referees with vanishing spray which is said to cost about £3 per can.
The spray is considered popular among the players as well, Portuguese super star Cristiano Ronaldo spoke out in support of the spray saying, “I think it’s a great idea, use a spray to mark the distance between the barrier and the kicker can be a great help.”
With the spray being considered such a success at the World Cup and in MLS it is likely to become more widely used. With UEFA’s Champions League next, it is likely we will see the vanishing spray being used in other leagues such as Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga in due time.