Football's vanishing spray was a big hit during the 2014 World Cup, and on Wednesday, the Barclays Premier League announced the spray will be used in England's top-flight league during the coming 2014-15 season.
The news was first confirmed by the league's official Twitter account:
Vanishing spray is a foamy substance officials can spray onto the pitch to indicate where the wall has to be placed on free-kicks, making it harder for defenders to sneak closer to the ball.
The foam vanishes from the pitch in just a couple of minutes, so it doesn't leave any confusing lines on the grass for both the players and spectators.
Chief Executive Richard Scudamore is a big fan of the new innovation:
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore: "Vanishing spray benefitted referees, players, and all those who watched the World Cup"— Premier League (@premierleague) July 30, 2014
So is The New York Times' Stefan Bienkowski:
Premier League adopting the vanishing spray for this season. Undoubtedly the best signing of the summer transfer window so far.— Stefan Bienkowski (@SBienkowski) July 30, 2014
While the system wasn't perfect during the 2014 World Cup (defenders still frequently stepped over the line without any form of retribution), the simple idea of a mark on the pitch influences how players react to free-kick takers.
More importantly, the rapid spreading of the spray's usage (the Premier League isn't the first league to announce its introduction) indicates football may finally be embracing new technology that can only benefit the game in the long run.
As shared by Sky Sports News, the Scottish League could be the next competition to fall for the popular spray:
The head of SFA referees will investigate costs of introducing vanishing spray to help refs in Scotland. Give #SSN your views on the spray.— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 29, 2014
La Liga, Serie A and the Ligue 1 are three of the biggest leagues that have already secured contracts with the company behind the product, and now the marketers can add arguably the biggest league in the world to their client list.
Will the popularity of vanishing spray lead to more technological innovations?
The usage of vanishing spray won't be a major change in the Premier League landscape in 2014-15, but it could be the first step towards the biggest and controversial innovation of them all—instant replay.
The popularity of the spray and the usage of goal-line technology at the 2014 World Cup seem to point towards a definite change in mentality amongst football's lawmakers, so fans should expect more changes to follow.