The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil ticked a lot of boxes and in one of those boxes was a big white tick that disappears within a few minutes.
The vanishing spray used by referees to prevent encroaching by defensive walls was a notable success – a simple solution to a persistent problem in the game that saved time, enforced fair play and improved the viewing experience for those watching.
It was such a big hit that when we asked Club Website members during the tournament if they would like grassroots referees to use the spray, a whopping 77 percent said yes.
The spray was developed by Brazilian Heine Allemagne and Argentinian Pablo Silva, who christened it 9.15 Fair Play – a reference to the 9.15m (or 10 yards) that defenders must retreat from the ball at free kicks.
It has been successfully used in South American football for a number of years before capturing the world’s attention at this summer’s soccer showpiece. Now UEFA have announced that it will be used in this season’s Champions League and the Premier League are also looking into the idea, although it is unlikely that the spray will be introduced for the coming season.
So what chances of seeing the spray in use down at your local park?
Highly unlikely it would seem. First and foremost, someone would have to foot the bill for the new cans of spray – reported to cost around £3 per can – and it’s hard to see the FA or individual leagues doing so when there are far more fundamental issues to spend their money on.
The 77 percent of people in favour of the spray being used at grassroots level certainly diminished when the issue of cost was discussed on our Facebook page this week. When asked if the spray would be worth an extra pound or two on a referee’s fee, the majority of people said no, Nathan Bowen amongst them.
“Lets face it, vanishing spray prob wont work on the pitches we play on!” said Nathan. “Lets improve facilities and training for officials first before going for minor things like vanishing spray.”
Chris Tarsey felt the same – “We need so much more than shaving foam, goals falling down, nets with holes in overpriced pitch hire, get the basics right first” – and many agreed, although a few were still in favour, such as Larry Winning, who said: “GREAT IDEA, SOONER THE BETTER.”
You can find out more about the Official Vanishing Spray of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at 915fairplay.com. We’re yet to hear back from them in response to our price request, but we’ll keep you posted as and when we do.
In the meantime, if there are any keen-as-mustard officials out there who can’t wait to get their hands on a spray, you can pick up at least one product online for just over £5 a pop if buying in bulk.
Of course, if anyone out there comes across vanishing spray being used in grassroots football this season, we’d love to hear all about it. You can drop us a line at [email protected].
CW Poll: Would you like to see grassroots football referees use vanishing spray at free kicks?
Yes – 77%
No – 23%
Votes cast: 1,491
Image courtesy of 915fairplay.com