January 24, 2014

UEFA considers implementation of vanishing spray

The UEFA Executive Committee has decided to conduct a test trial of the so-called vanishing spray utilized by the referees to mark out free-kick and wall positions at the final tournament of 2014 UEFA Under-17 European Championship. Thus, Europe's football governing body apparently follows world federation FIFA that will deploy the spray at Brazil's World Cup 2014.

WC 2014 Referee Ben Williams marking the wall-distance

The tool, that is being availed in South American competitions for several years and that was first tested by FIFA at U-20 World Cup 2013, is supposed to support referees when controlling the correct wall-distance of 9.15m and defining the correct and stationary ball position during free-kicks close to the penalty area. The spray creates a white foam line which vanishes within one minute. Usually the spray is stored in a bottle placed at the referees' trousers.
The responsible men in the football associations touch on a very subtle issue in modern football once again by shifting focus on the wall-distance at free-kicks. Basically, the observation that plenty of attackers here and there steal some (centi-)metres in order to revamp the free-kick position is legitimate. In addition, it is widely known that several defenders are infringing the wall-distance of 9.15m. So at first glance, this tool appears to be a logical means to make the game better. 

However, there are several strong arguments against it. 
First, the game is not made better, but slower. It takes the referees some seconds to sort out the spray bottle, mark the foam lines and store the bottle away. Besides, it does not exclude the opportunity that some players will ignore these lines.
Second, a tool to prevent infringements with regard to the wall-distance and to stealing some metres has already been implemented in the last century and is commonly called "yellow card". 
Third, marking an optically visible line does not necessarily mean that the distance between the wall and the ball's position really is 9.15m. Furthermore, it still allows the possibility that the referees did not identify the correct position where the previous infringement leading to the set piece had occurred at all. If FIFA (and soon UEFA) were consistent, they would have to equip their match officials with a measuring tape and the sixth sense to ensure accuracy.
Fourth (and most important), it is a worrying signal if the responsible associations do not rely on their referees' ability to manage free-kick incidents including the correct ball position and wall distance with their personality. Referees, who savour authority being respected by the players, who are to able to communicate appropiately with the players and who have a general awareness for this sort of infractions, do not need a spray. Therefore, the implementation of the vanishing spray probably is one of those projects of some office sitters in Switzerland who feel the urge to immortalize themselves. At any rate, it is futile in my opinion.

33 Comments:

  1. After several years at South America, now UEFA begins this study.
    Sligthly really unheard of.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous25/1/14 10:22

    I think that this is a good idea. It is cheap, simple to understand and if players goes over the foam line then it is much easier for the referee to sell his decision to produce a yellow card. So I am in favour of this.

    /Swedish observer

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    Replies
    1. I think it looks a bit hilarious. Especially if a Ref/AR acts like this colleague here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwJJAiTXjQ8

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  3. Anonymous25/1/14 13:42

    http://www.abola.pt/nnh/ver.aspx?id=455775

    Portugal will receive in February a UEFA referee meeting with all Elite refs, including the 9 WC.
    Just a remark to the inclusion of Soares Dias in the Advanced course with the Elite Refs.
    The usual course for new FIFA refs will be also in Portugal with Collina and Vitor Melo Pereira present.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the seminar will be from 3 to 5 February in Lisbon. I have already asked UEFA for a participant list and they said they would send it as soon as available.

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    2. Me too, I'll share the document as soon as I receive it.

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  4. Some interesting situations:

    Nicolas Laforge (Charleroi - Oud-Heverlee Leuven). Both ejected players received one-match ban... No comment.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUHyoJ8KIr0#t=48
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUHyoJ8KIr0#t=196

    Duarte Gomes (Viseu - Covilha):
    http://www.footazo.com/arbitro-marca-livre-indirecto-em-vez-de-penalti/

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    Replies
    1. Hubert, can you explain why Duarte gave indirect free kick instead of a penalty? I really don't understand.
      The contact is clear.

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    2. I can't understand that, too... What do you think about the Thiare foul in Belgian match? I think it should be about 12 matches of suspension...

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    3. It is actually easy to understand. Gomes changed his mind following the advice of AR1 to whom he looked for several seconds. By the way Gomes' gestures are a copy of Proenca's.
      No comment on the red cards and the match bans..

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    4. Of course one match ban is not enough, but 12 seems a big exaggerated punishment :D
      I would say 3 or even 4.

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    5. OK, but still can't understand why AR1 told him to change a call :)

      3 or 4 matches are suitable for a 'normal case of using excessive force'. I think the kung-fu challenge with studs landing on the opponent's head is something extraordinary. That endangered an opponent's health in a huge way to my mind.

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    6. Because he thought there was not any contact requiring an indirect free-kick, I presume.
      Luckily we referees don't have to decide on match bans.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous26/1/14 15:08

    No.4 is most important, as pointed out.
    You can't teach your referees personality and man-management but at the same time indirectly tell them they are incapable of controlling and monitoring free-kick executions. This is a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very controversial penalty given by Tagliavento today.
    If you ask me, a clear mistake. It can be even foul by the attacker on the keeper.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1ace9e_21-torino-atalanta-1-0-26-gen-2014-highlights_sport&start=27

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's always a difficult situation to judge. Nonetheless, it was a foul on GK, not the other way around. I think the AIA-FIGC authorities wouldn't be happy with that.

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  7. http://issuu.com/fifa/docs/issuu_deutsch_woche_04_2014/15?e=9526632%2F6461891
    Unbelievable. There is an official list of "the biggest refereeing flops". And those are not even all wrong decisions... (No. 7 & 8)

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  8. Italian referees called for Lisbon (stil not 100% official but almost sure):

    Rizzoli
    Rocchi
    Tagliavento
    Mazzoleni
    Guida
    Massa

    The big surprise is Mazzoleni replacing Orsato as new referee in Category 1. I have the sensation that in this KO stage we will read many unexpected names in the appointments.
    I will try to give a confrimation about that soon.

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  9. No my friend!Your info is not correct.Invited for the advanced course in Lisbon are Rizzoli,Rocchi,Tagliavento,Banti,Orsato,Mazzoleni and the two new ones Giuda and Massa for the introductory course,according to my list of participants

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So all the category 1 referees? Thanks...

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    2. not all chefren?as far as i read apart from new Fifa referees,52 referees from elite,ex elit development and some first cat,plus17 women and 14 from 2nd cat are invited

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    3. Hi Chefren, can you forward pdf file on UEFA stage also to me e-mail address ? Uefa seems don't deploy the program thsi year. Thanks Mario

      Delete
    4. Anonymous28/1/14 13:31

      Could you share the info on this blog?

      Delete
  10. Anonymous27/1/14 22:23

    Any surprises on that list Kika?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous28/1/14 12:58

    From the Netherlands I think there will be Kuipers, Nijhuis, Blom and Van Boekel. Makkelie has an appointment on the third of February.

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  12. I got the official document and program: 66 men referees and 17 women refrees: 83 officials attending the 22nd Uefa advanced Course for Top Referees, held in Lisbon. Huge number, no cost saving strategy for Uefa... :-)
    24 referees belonging to Elite Class, plus 42 belonging to First Class: Lechner, Delferiere, Gumienny, Kulbakov, Bebek, Strahonja, Zelinka, Hansen, Oliver, Stavrev, Gestranius, Gautier, Turpin, Buquet, Aytekin, Grafe, Zwayer, Sidiropoulus, Vad, Yefet, Banti, Mazzoleni, Orsato, Nijhus, Van Boeckel, Hagen, Marciniak, Soares Dias, Hategan, Tudor, Karasev, Eskov, Mc lean, Jug, Vincic, Mateu Lahoz, Johannesson, Strombergsson, Aydinus, Ozkahya, Boiko and Aranowski

    Some new names ready to be launched

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much!

      Delete
    2. See your mail inbox

      Regards

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    3. Chefren, can you send it to me?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous28/1/14 18:52

      Could you please name the woman referees invited to this course?

      Delete
    5. Done, Edward, check your mail.

      Delete
    6. Thanks a lot, Chefren.

      Delete
  13. Adamkova (CZE), Albon (ROU), Baitinger (GER), Dorcioman (ROU), Gaal (HUN), Heikkinen (FIN), Husseim (GER), Kulcsar (HUN), Larsson (SWE), Mitsi (GER), Monzul (UKR), Palmqvist (SWE), Pirie (SCO), Spinelli (ITA), Staubli (SUI), Steinhaus (GER), Vituliano (ITA)

    ReplyDelete

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