When Argentina’s Primera División commences next month referees will be armed with a vanishing spray to keep defensive walls ten-yards back at free-kicks.
The aim is that refs will pace out the yards at dead-ball situations and spray a line on the ground to stop the defenders from encroaching on the set-piece taker.
The line on the pitch will then disappear within a minute without leaving a Togel lasting trace on the pitch. The scheme was successfully trialed in the second division last season and now the Argentina Football Association (AFA) has approved its use in the top flight.
The spray is contained in a 115 gram light weight aerosol can which means referees can carry it on them at all times. It is hoped that the scheme will speed play up by preventing the common disputes which crop up at dead-ball situations.
The AFA hopes the measure will put an end to the days of retaken free-kicks and needless bookings for walls creeping too close to the ball.
The invention is the brainchild of sports journalists Pablo Silva who first had the idea eight years ago when playing in an amateur league.
Silva’s team were 1-0 down when they got a free-kick on the edge of the box in the dying minutes of the match. When the kick was taken it crashed into the wall who had advanced to within three yards of the set-piece taker.
When the referee took no action despite a wave of protest the seedling of the idea had been planted in Silva’s head.
“We lost the game and, driving home later with a mixture of anger and bitterness, I thought that we must invent something to stop this.” Pablo Silva said
Silva also wondered if the problem was confined to football in Argentina or if the same thing happens all over the globe. He decided to undertake a study of behaviour at free-kicks in the professional game worldwide.
“We have observed more than 1,500 matches all over the world and we have studied how long it takes to take the free kick and how far the defensive wall moves forward.
“We have proved this is not just an Argentine problem, it happens everywhere.” Silva conceded.
He hopes that the spray he developed with chemical engineers will catch on all over the world and benefit football as a spectacle.
“Hopefully this can contribute to enforcing the current rules and improve the time that the ball is in play.” Silva said wishfully.
A similar spray has been used in some cup competitions in Brazil for several years now but proved unsuccessful when it was introduced to their league seven years ago. Pablo Silva claims his spray will be much more effective and has been developed separately from its Brazilian counterpart.
“The Brazilian one appeared in 2002 and the substances are completely different. One has nothing to do with the other.” Silva said adamantly.
Watch out for the new invention in Argentina’s Primera División A Torneo Clausura 2009 which commences on 8th February. Keep your eyes peeled though, blink and you’ll miss it.