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By Henry G. Doble

Take Two

Friday, June 20, 2014

IF YOU are enjoying the World Cup matches shown on TV you will notice that white icing sprayed by Fifa referees during free kicks.

Unlike the icing in your favorite cakes, the ones used by the referees, according to Dennis Estaniel, referee assessor of Asian Football Confederation and Philippine Football Federation, is not sweet and it is "vanishing."

The pilot test for the spray was held in South America (Copa America) two years ago, said Estaniel. It was designed in order for referees to interpret and implement the rules easily and will be used in all Fifa-sanctioned games.


The new tool is usually at the disposal of the referee to ensure that the assigned defenders stand 10 yards away from the ball as well as allow an attacking team a better opportunity of creating something out of it.

Without the spray before, defenders oftentimes stand eight yards or even nearer to the ball which kept the officiating official from telling players to move backward. Such scenario usually takes and wastes time just to correct players positioning on the field.

Since it is a “vanishing spray” it will eventually disappear a few minutes after it was sprayed as the game goes on.

You see even the world's number one sports never stops improving. Fifa and its members, just like other international organizations, always find ways to make its game more exciting and at the same time remain strict in the implementation of its rules.

Basketball has no need for the spray. Its penalty area has already fixed markers for the jumpers to stand on when free throws are given by the referee. Boxers have their neutral corners and bowlers have etiquette to follow.

What is common only in football and basketball is the vanishing of players for dangerous tackles and plays which merit a red card or a disqualifying foul. Either way, more often than not, the vanished caused a team to be vanquished.

The World Cup is just warming up. The nearer it ends, the more footballers will vanish either in the stretcher or after being booted out by the ref.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 20, 2014.


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