Referees will be using the vanishing spray during Premier League matches as from this season. This was announced by Director of Refereeing Kevin Azzopardi during a press conference on Friday following the annual pre-season seminar for match officials and referees observers.
The vanishing spray is a substance applied by referees to the pitch in order to provide a temporary visual markerand although its use in football is not regulated by the Laws of the Game, it is now being used in top leagues and major tournaments. Referees use the spray to enforce the rules as to the minimum distance that members of the opposing team can come close to the ball during a free kick, as well as the spot from which the kick is taken.
Azzopardi also revealed that match officials will be wearing new kits sponsored by Eurosport as from this season.
MFA General Secretary Bjorn Vassallo said the number of referes had increased considerably thanks to a number of initiatives which were taken in recent years. He said that the number of referees had risen from about 90 to 150 since 2011/12. Despite this, the amount of referees was never enough, considering that officials have to control over three thousand matches, including competitions organised by member associations.
Vassallo announced that MFA vice president Alex Manfre was confirmed as chairman of the Referees Committee while Helga Chircop was appointed as secretary.
One of the main speakers at the seminar, David Elleray, said that the game required consistency and not just high quality refereeing. He said that with the 95 changes to the Laws of the Game, this would not be easy but if clubs explain these changes to their players, there should not be any major problems.
Director of Refereeing Kevin Azzopardi explained that the new structure is based on the UEFA Referees Convention. He said that the department had set-up a Disciplinary Committee, a fitness unit and an audit unit which will take care of all internal procedures.
Meanwhile it was revealed that Esther Azzopardi has been chosen by FIFA to control matches in the FIFA Women’s Under 17 World Cup to be held in Jordan next month.