Soccerstoriesbook's Blog


The 126th annual general meeting of the International Football Association Board–world soccer’s official rule-making body–will be held March 3 in Surrey, England.

Among the eight proposed amendments to the Laws of the Game on the agenda are a proposal for a fourth substitution to be allowed for overtime matches; a new text to clarify what action should be taken if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponent’s goal; and a new text to address the so-called “triple punishment” (ejection and one-game suspension of a player who tries to stop an obvious scoring chance with a professional foul, plus the awarding of a penalty kick against that player’s team.)

Also to be discussed are an update on experiments involving additional assistant referees and the use of “vanishing spray” to mark where defending players can stand or form a wall on a free kick. [February 1]

Comment:  This get-together probably won’t generate as much interest as a special meeting the IFAB may convene July 2, when it could make a decision regarding the future of goal-line technology and the use of additional assistant referees.  It’s in Surrey, however, where board members will consider technology that makes sense.

Vanishing spray has been used in top-level matches in Brazil and a handful of other countries the past few years, but it arrived on the world stage last summer when it was used at the Copa America in Argentina. 

Very simple:  When necessary, the referee steps off 10 yards (9.15 meters) from the spot of a free kick to the opponent’s goal, then pulls a small can out of his pocket and sprays a line to mark how close the defending team can form a wall.  Any encroachment is there for the world to see, and the white line created disappears in 45 seconds. 

Best of all, unlike goal line technology and its not-so-distant cousins, like video review of everything from offside to penalty-area dives, vanishing spray will lead to nothing beyond vanishing spray.