KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- The vanishing spray which proved such a success at the World Cup finals in Brazil will be introduced, after all, in the English Premier League this coming season.

Initially some resistance to an immediate introduction of the aide had been expressed but positive feedback from every corner of the domestic game has prompted a change of heart.

Referees use the spray at free kicks outside the penalty box to indicate both the fixed position of the ball and then the 9.15m (10yd) line behind which the wall must stand.

Inventor Heine Allemagne marks the spot . . .

The spray had been widely used in Latin America and in some Asian countries before world federation FIFA used it on an experimental basis at all its junior competitions last year.

European referees, initially, were the most reluctant to take on board an extra piece of equipment. Some also objected that the spray reduced their own ‘personal command’ of a match.

Refereeing benefit

However FIFA referees’ chief Massimo Busacca indicated even before the World Cup in Brazil that referees soon changed their mind when they discovered how the spray removed a challenging sector of dissent from the game.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: “It was clear from watching the World Cup that vanishing spray benefited referees, players, and all of those who watched the matches.

“Following consultation with our clubs and the Professional Game Match Officials Limited [the refereeing body], we have decided to introduce it in the Premier League and look forward to having it in place for the 2014-15 season.”

The spray, evaporates within a minute, will also be used in next season’s Champions League despite UEFA president Michel Platini’s objections to any form of technological aid for referees.

PGMOL general manager Mike Riley, said: “As an assessor at the World Cup, I saw first-hand the benefits of vanishing spray for referees, and for the game as a whole.”

Brazilian creation

The spray, first known as Spuni, was created in 2000 by Heine Allemagne from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. It was used first in the Copa Belo Horizonte in 2000 then in the 2001 Minas Gerais State Championship. A later the Brazilian Football Confederation commissioned its use in the João Havelange Cup.

In 2006, Heine and Argentinian developer Pablo Silva improved the technical quality of the spray and renamed it 9.15 Fair Play in accordance with rule that states a defensive wall must be positioned no less than 9.15m [10yd] from the ball.

In 2012, the law-making International Board approved its use worldwide after tests in 18,000 professional games.

Officials claim that the average time to take a free-kick has fallen from 48 seconds to 20 seconds, more goals have been scored direct from free-kicks and fewer yellow and red cards have been handed out for encroachment.

The spray will not be used yet by the Football League, which intends to hold trials of its effectiveness in its own league cup competition.