BELO HORIZONTE: The revolutionary spray used to keep a defensive wall 10 yards [9.15 metres] from the ball during free-kicks has made its mark on the global football stage at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, 14 years after it was first used in the Copa Belo Horizonte 2000 – a junior football tournament overseen by the Minas Gerais Football Federation [FMF].
The spray, back then known as Spuni, was created in 2000 by Heine Allemagne, born and raised in Minas Gerais (the state of Host City Belo Horizonte). A former amateur football player, Heine wanted to produce an environmentally sustainable product that would encourage fair play and make the free-kick process more efficient.
Following its introduction in the Copa Belo Horizonte 2000, the FMF adopted the spray in the Minas Gerais State Championship in 2001, and then in 2002 the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) commissioned its use in the João Havelange Cup after the device received a 100% approval rating by those referees who had used it.
In 2006, Heine joined forces with Argentinean, Pablo Silva, to improve the technical quality of the spray. It was then renamed 9.15 Fair Play in accordance with rule that states a defensive wall must be positioned no less than 9.15 metres [10 yards] from the ball during a free-kick process.
In 2012, IFAB (the law-making body of the game) authorised the product to be used by all international football federations following tests in 18,000 professional games.
Since the spray’s introduction, 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 less yellow and red cards have been handed out for encroachment. The spray is also accessible to all levels of football from grassroots upwards.
Speaking about the first use of 9.15 Fair Play at a World Cup, Heine Allemagne, said:
“It is literally a dream come true to see 9.15 Fair Play being used at this World Cup and seen by billions of people across the globe. The journey to get here has had its challenges but ultimately it has been hugely rewarding.”
“I have been delighted to see the impact that it has had on the game and it was particularly special to see the spray return to Belo Horizonte as it made its debut in the city fourteen years ago.
“Over the period of its development, the focus has been on improving the spray and testing its use at all levels of the game and not on commercial exploitation. I hope that 9.15 Fair Play continues to help referees around the world, from all levels of football, and improve the efficiency of the game.”
9.15 Fair Play – Key Facts
From Concept to Delivery
The spray was created in 2000 by Minas Gerais born and raised, Heine Allemagne (D.O.B. 11.02.1971), an inventor and entrepreneur who was working in TV advertising and graphic design at the time
As a former amateur football player, Allemagne dreamt of creating a product that would be environmentally sustainable and would help make the game more efficient by helping referees do their work better and discipline players during free-kicks by setting a “wall” the right distance from the ball
The spray, known as Spuni, was created with a company called Baston, formerly known as Chemiker do Brasil, based in the Brazilian state of Paraná and Heine has the international patent for the product
The spray made its debut in Belo Horizonte as it was first tested during the Copa BH 2000 – a junior (sub-20) football tournament promoted by the Minas Gerais Football Federation (FMF) in Belo Horizonte.
FMF adopted the spray in the State championship in 2000 followed by CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation) in 2002 during the João Havelange Cup and the product received 100% approval rating by all those referees who used it
In 2006, Allemagne joined forces with Argentinean Pablo Silva to improve the technical quality of the spray and renamed it 9.15 Fair Play
IFAB authorized the device in 2012 for all federations across the world, following tests in 18,000 professional games
FIFA tested the spray in 2013 in its own Under 17 and Under 20 World Championships followed by the FIFA World Club Cup
It was used for the first time in a World Cup at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil
Benefits of Product
It is environmentally sustainable as the product is derived from vegetable oil and doesn’t damage the playing surface as it is biodegradable
It can be used for all levels of referees – from grass-roots football to professional football, unlike video replay and new forms of technology
It has reinforced the credibility and authority of referees due to the creation of an established distance
It makes matches more efficient and dynamic as avoids the interruption of correcting the position of players
It has reduced interruptions during live games and has been a major benefit for media/rights holders
It has generated less yellow and red cards due to the disregard of Rule 13 of the laws of the game
It reaffirms Fair Play on the field as the referee is able to focus on matters other than the placement of the ball and position of the defending players
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