Belo Horizonte, Brazil, July 7, 2014: Belo Horizonte, The revolutionary spray used to keep a defensive wall 10 yards [9.15 metres] from the ball during free-kicks has made its mark on the global football stage at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, 14 years after it was first used in the Copa Belo Horizonte 2000 – a junior football tournament overseen by the Minas Gerais Football Federation [FMF].
The spray, back then known as Spuni, was created in 2000 by Heine Allemagne, born and raised in Minas Gerais (the state of Host City Belo Horizonte). A former amateur football player, Heine wanted to produce an environmentally sustainable product that would encourage fair play and make the free-kick process more efficient.
Following its introduction in the Copa Belo Horizonte 2000, the FMF adopted the spray in the Minas Gerais State Championship in 2001, and then in 2002 the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) commissioned its use in the João Havelange Cup after the device received a 100% approval rating by those referees who had used it.
In 2006, Heine joined forces with Argentinean, Pablo Silva, to improve the technical quality of the spray. It was then renamed 9.15 Fair Playin accordance with rule that states a defensive wall must be positioned no less than 9.15 metres [10 yards] from the ball during a free-kick process.
In 2012, IFAB (the law-making body of the game) authorised the product to be used by all international football federations following tests in 18,000 professional games.
Since the spray’s introduction, the average time to take a free-kick has fallen from 48 seconds to 20 seconds, more goals have been scored direct from free-kicks and less yellow and red cards have been handed out for encroachment. The spray is also accessible to all levels of football from grassroots upwards.
Speaking about the first use of 9.15 Fair Play at a World Cup, Heine Allemagne, said:
“It is literally a dream come true to see 9.15 Fair Play being used at this World Cup and seen by billions of people across the globe. The journey to get here has had its challenges but ultimately it has been hugely rewarding.”
“I have been delighted to see the impact that it has had on the game and it was particularly special to see the spray return to Belo Horizonte as it made its debut in the city fourteen years ago.
“Over the period of its development, the focus has been on improving the spray and testing its use at all levels of the game and not on commercial exploitation. I hope that 9.15 Fair Play continues to help referees around the world, from all levels of football, and improve the efficiency of the game.” —- By: Rob Fawdon