Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Spray will make 'wall' stand back at World Cup

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MARRAKECH, Morocco -- After introducing technology to do away with phantom goals at the World Cup, FIFA is ensuring crafty defenders stop creeping in to cut down the distances on free kicks at next year's tournament in Brazil.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Thursday a vanishing spray currently being used at the Club World Cup to designate distances for free kicks will be used at the world's biggest soccer event.

"We started using it in all (our) competitions this year, and at the World Cup we will definitely keep on the same path," Blatter said Thursday.

Referees have been spraying the water-based, shaving-cream-like foam on fields in Morocco to ensure players lining up a defensive wall against a free kick respect the 9.15-metre distance to the spot of the infraction, where a circle is sprayed to keep attackers from rolling the ball forward.

FIFA has also confirmed it will use goal-line technology, which is also on show in Morocco, at the World Cup to rule on disputed goals.

When notified by The Associated Press his spray product would be on show at the World Cup, developer Pablo Silva was overwhelmed about a product six years in the making.

"Economically, this will be very important for us, but what makes us most proud is that the product will be recognized at an international level. You can't put a price on that," he said.

Silva said Argentina Football Federation president Julio Grondona was instrumental in introducing the spray -- termed 9:15 for the distance -- into the country's domestic leagues.

Major League Soccer followed before the International Football Association board authorized the spray and it was introduced into the FIFA-organized Under-20 World Cup earlier this year.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 20, 2013 C6

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