FIFA have announced that a vanishing spray to help referees stop defenders moving forward at free kicks will be used at the Club World Cup next month in Morocco.
Don't cross the line: A referee uses the spray in an U20 World Cup match
Referees will be able to pace 10 yards from where the free-kick is being taken, draw a line with the spray and within one minute, the marking will then disappear. This will then allow them to make a fair judgment on whether or not to book a player if they go beyond the line.
The spray, which has been tested at the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups already this year, has produced “very good overall feedback from participating referees” at the respective tournaments. It has also been a success in South American football after being licensed by Argentine company 9.15 Fair Play Limit.
“A large majority of the officials considered the spray as a useful and helpful tool,” said Massimo Busacca, a former official now acting as FIFA’s Head of Refereeing.
“The spray has a clear preventive effect. The distance was always respected, so no yellow card for not respecting the distance had to be given throughout the two tournaments played so far.”
The Club World Cup has provided a good testing platform for new advancements within the game, with goal-line technology tested at last year’s competition in Japan before being introduced earlier this year.
And Busacca hinted that if the trial is a success, the spray could be used in future FIFA competitions, with next year’s World Cup in Brazil a possibility.
He added: “After the Club World Cup in Morocco further evaluations will be made. We will review the results and discuss if the spray will be used also in future FIFA competitions.”