European football's governing body Uefa on Friday approved the use of vanishing spray to police free-kicks in Champions League and Europa League matches from the start of the 2014-15 season.

“This spray is very useful,” Uefa president Michel Platini said after the decision by the Uefa referees committee to approve the spray.

The biodegradable foam, which dissolves within a minute, is sprayed on the ground by referees to mark where free-kicks should be taken from and the 10-yard (9.15-metre) distance that the opposition's defensive wall must observe.

It was judged a success after being pioneered at the World Cup in Brazil and has since been adopted by the English and French leagues.

“After a successful test at the 2014 Uefa European Under-17 Championship in Malta, I am pleased that the Referees Committee decided to approve the use of the vanishing spray in our senior competitions,” said Michel Platini.

“As we all saw at the World Cup, this spray was very useful in helping the referee in free-kick situations, and I am sure we will see similar results in our matches this season.”

Uefa 's chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina added: “We initially discussed the introduction of the vanishing spray with all the top Uefa referees at our winter course in Lisbon last February and then tested it in Malta at the 2014 Uefa European Under-17 Championship in May.

“Following the successful test and the Referees Committee approval, we will already use the spray in the Uefa Super Cup next week.

“In my opinion, there is no doubt that the spray allows the referees to have an easier control in free-kick situations, as players cannot try to make the wall distance shorter by using the so-called 'penguin walk' tactic.

“Once the defensive wall has been correctly positioned, the free-kick will be taken with the distance respected.”

The spary will be used for the first time in a Uefa club competition in the Uefa Super Cup game between Real Madrid and Sevilla in Cardiff on August 12.

It will then be deployed in the Champions League from the play-off round onward, and in the Europa League from the start of the group stage. The spray will also be used in European qualifiers for Euro 2016, which begin in September. – AFP