Giving vanishing spray to FIFA, for free

One of the great World Cup success stories took place off the field. The man behind the "magic spray" that referees use said he is more concerned with marketing ideals than making millions.

Heine Allemagne, 43, invented the spray, used to mark a defensive wall 10 yards (9.15 meters) from the ball at free kick. He has given FIFA free use of his invention at the finals, thanks to his love of the beautiful game.

Here's how it works: The referee sprays a line of biodegradable foam, derived from vegetable oil, in a line. It shows where players must stand at a free kick.

And voila, the line disappears within a minute or two.

Referee Enrique Osses of Chile marks the ground with vanishing spray as Italy's Andrea Pirlo (L) and Costa Rica's Bryan Ruiz watch during their 2014 World Cup Group D match. Photo: Reuters

"I had no commercial ambition, I wanted to develop the product," he said. "Perhaps there will be some financial side but that can come later, I wanted to get the product perfect for football."

The perks are many-fold: Referees keep discipline, the time taken at free-kicks is cut from 48 seconds to around 20 seconds, there are less yellow and red cards as a result and more goals from free-kicks.

Although the cans are not yet widely available, Allemagne said the retail price would be around US$5.

FIFA took delivery of 320 cans for the 64 World Cup matches and Allemagne absorbed the hypothetical cost - all US$1,600 - himself.

- Reuters