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Chua Siang Yee
Thursday, Jul 17, 2014

Sports

S-League may adopt vanishing spray

The Straits Times | Chua Siang Yee | Thursday, Jul 17, 2014

The vanishing spray was used in the recent World Cup held in Brazil.

THE vanishing spray used by referees at the World Cup could appear in the S-League and Malaysian Super League (MSL).

Officials from the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have lauded the spray's use - which helps referees ensure a distance of 10 yards or 9.15m from ball to wall - and are considering introducing it in their domestic competitions.

The FAS' head of referees department K. Visva Nathan said: "The vanishing spray prevents encroachment by defending players. "As a result, many good goals have been scored from the 9.15m distance.

"We are still studying the product closely to decide if we will introduce the vanishing spray in the S-League."

His counterpart in the FAM, C. Ravichandran, said: "The referee department will suggest the usage of the spray for future matches to the Referee Committee as it's been proven during this World Cup that it is a very useful tool for free-kick management."

The spray, which disappears after one to two minutes, is made from vegetable oil derivatives.

Costing about US$5 (S$6.20) a can, it was used in 18,000 football matches in South America before the International Football Association Board, which determines the laws of the game, approved its usage in any country in 2012.

The 9.15 Fair Play Limit spray is set to be used in the European Champions League next season and could make its debut in the English Premier League too.

Brazilian inventor Heine Allemagne said his product has lowered the time taken for free kicks from 48 to 20 seconds and that it has resulted in more goals.

Local players and coaches responded favourably when told of the spray's possible use in the S-League.

Geylang International's designated set-piece taker Mustaqim Manzur said: "Players tend to encroach the distance when the referee is not looking. I can't guarantee more goals will be scored, but it will be much fairer, and the referees will have an easier job upholding the rules."

Tampines coach Rafi Ali agreed. The former Singapore international said: "It is systematic, straightforward, easy to use and will certainly save a lot of time during free kicks."

However, both said the spray is not the be-all and end-all to free-kick taking.

Mustaqim, who scored from a free kick in a Singapore Cup clash against Woodlands in May, cautioned: "Sometimes, the distance from ball to wall differs from one referee to another.

"There are times it seems like the wall is 12 yards away. The spray will help but referees must ensure their estimation of the 10 yards is as accurate as possible."


This article was first published on July 15, 2014.
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