MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — 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 that 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 in Marrakech on Thursday. "For the discipline of the game, it's good. I was skeptical at first but after talking to referees who used this system, they were all happy with it."
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 meter distance to the spot of the infraction, where a circle is sprayed to keep attackers from rolling the ball forward.
"The representative of Bayern Munich said that here they can take free kicks with the wall nine meters away, while at home it's only five," Blatter said. "It's a novelty."
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 over a product that was six years in the making.
"We've climbed a long, steep curve to get here," Silva told the AP. "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."
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.
It made its debut in a Sept. 2008 second-division match between Los Andes and Chacarita Jr. before eventually being introduced to each tier.