World Cup 2014 Tech: Vanishing Spray

Please welcome back L’Arbitre and the second in his series on new tech the referees will be using in Brazil. Read his article on Goal Line Technology, and be sure and visit his blog!

By L’Arbitre

The next thing you can be sure to find different this World Cup will be the vanishing spray.

Now I don’t mean spray that makes players vanish. Wouldn’t that be nice sometimes?

Football requires players to respect a set distance from the ball during restarts of play. The issue is that it’s easier said than done and despite best efforts to enforce it, players do their best with gamesmanship to flaunt this rule and put much more than just their toe over the line.

Vanishing spray is a white spray that referees can use to mark a position or ball placement. After a few minutes, it vanishes from the pitch.

The introduction of the spray in games is an effort to clearly indicate the required distance to players for a relevant restart. The vanishing element is so that the markings are simply temporary and so that the marking fades away within minutes without damage to the field.

The spray is also used to indicate the position and placement of the ball. Free kick takers are known to take advantage of an adjusted location to where the wall was initially positioned.

Check out this Assistant Referee taking it to heart in the closing stages of a game to get his point across. Typically only the referee carries the canister of vanishing spray on a Batman-like belt!

The experimentation over the past few years, including at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Turkey, has shown positive results for the spray in the game. We are looking forward to its debut on the world stage in front of millions of fans.

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