Anyone who has been watching the World Cup 2014 in Brazil will have noticed the latest innovation in the referee’s pocket – Vanishing Foam. Vanishing Foam is a wonderful little breakthrough in enforcing the rules of the game. It is used when the defending team feels the need to build a wall to defend a free kick to be taken in a dangerous area of the pitch. Typically, the referee does two things. First, he marks a horseshoe shape around the ball at the spot from where the free kick must be taken. Second, he draws a line 10 metres from the ball, behind which the wall is formed.
One of the fascinating elements to anyone interested in behaviour management is that not a single player has advanced beyond the line drawn by the referee. Nor has a single free kick taker moved the ball outside of the area drawn. Such a small thing – such a simple thing – and the game progresses faster, with less acrimony from both sides, thanks to a small breakthrough in the use of aerosol spray foam.