Column: Control in a can

John Browne
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Aside from the spectacular goals by James Rodriguez, Lionel Messi and Robin Van Persie, the real star of the World Cup has been Gillette Foamy.
Well, not the real Gillette Foamy because that’s copyrighted.

I’m talking about the white spray used by the referee to prevent encroachment by defenders making up a wall during free kicks. The ref also draws a semicircle where the player has to take his free kick.

 It saves a lot of time during those situations. Remember the days when the players kept cheating forward prior to free kicks and the ref had to keep pushing them back?

As it turns out, it’s a foam but not shaving cream. It was first used at the 2011 Copa America tournament and has also been used in Major League Soccer and at various FIFA events. The name of the product is 9:15 Fairplay, which is the 10-yard distance between the ball and the defender wall in meters.

By the way the foam, or “magic spray” as one commentator tabbed it, disappears in about two minutes.

Sometimes it takes longer because the ref, who carries the lightweight foam dispenser in holster attached to his shorts, will double up on the first line drawn.

According to the stuff is, “a mixture of butane, isobutane and propane gas; a foaming agent; water; and other chemicals.

“When it leaves the can, the gas depressurizes and expands, creating small, water-covered droplets on the field. The butane mixture later evaporates, leaving only water and surfactant residue behind.”

So there you have it. A simple, but brilliant idea.

Don’t know if you can shave with it though.


According to a recent survey of 3,256 American women, here’s the top 10 sports they find the hottest:

1. Surfing: 23.4%

2. Football: 16.2%

3. Swimming: 12.5%

4. Baseball: 8.9%

5. Tennis: 8.4%

6. Motor sports: 7.3%

7. Rugby: 6.4%

8. Basketball: 6.3%

9. Golf: 6.1%

10. Athletics: 4.5%


Karen Murphy will be named Memorial University’s new athletic director soon. She replaces Michelle Healey, who moved on to the provincial government's recreation and sports division Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Bill Thistle has been working as an interim director... I may have left the impression that there wasn’t any positives to take from The Rock’s win over Nova Scotia Keltics last Saturday. However, while the five-point win wasn’t impressive, there were some fine individual runs, solid tackles and good a job done on the lineouts. Still, the Rock had better blow New Brunswick off the field this Saturday... Poor management (money and otherwise) left the Boston Bruins sitting on their hands during free agent frenzy day while they lost a character player and 30-goal scorer in Jarome Iginla and reliable backup goalie in Chad Johnson. No one in the system can replace Iginla. A team that once had four strong lines now has basically two good lines and an unproven backup in Niklas Svedberg. There goes the team’s depth... New Baymen rugby jersey sure are colorful… Best hit in Saturday’s Atlantic rugby league game was by Newfoundland’s Brandon Dillon. A Keltics’ player attempted to tackle Dillon and The Rock player sent him back about three feet to the ground where he stayed down for several seconds.. Did you know Ottawa RedBlacks owner Jeff Hunt was born in Stephenville? Did you know John Bambrick became the first softball pitcher to record 100 career wins (July 4, 1966).

Organizations: Major League Soccer, FIFA, Department of Tourism Boston Bruins

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Stephenville

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Recent comments

  • John
    July 02, 2014 - 08:17

    Good article, what about the miracle spray trainers use on players that fall down like they have just been shot, only to get up a few seconds later, running at full speed, as if nothing had happened?

    • Michelle
      July 02, 2014 - 13:32

      The original Magic Spray is still in use. I haven't seen it used much during this World Cup, though. Champions League last season, now that's another story.