UEFA is to use next May’s under-17 football tournament being held in Malta as a guinea pig to gauge the potential of the use of a vanishing spray to mark where defensive walls should stand in future tournaments.
In a decision on Friday, UEFA said that, if deemed successful at the Malta tournament, the use of the vanishing spray could be introduced next season in the Champions League and Euro 2016 qualifiers.
European football's governing body said on Friday, “Based on the outcome of this trial, the spray may be considered for use in other UEFA competitions,” it said.
Vanishing spray, which disappears within a minute, is a foam squirted onto the pitch to mark the line where the defending team set up their defensive wall before a free kick is taken.
Referees pace the regulatory 9.15 metres between the ball and the nearest defender and then spray a white line to mark the correct position of the wall.
It has been praised widely by referees who have tested it, on the grounds that it has a clear preventative effect and means they do not end up having to hand out yellow cards to players who fail to respect the distance.
UEFA’s global counterpart FIFA likewise conducted trials of the spray at last year's Under-20 and Under-17 World Cups, with no yellow cards given at all for distance breaches.
As a result, FIFA went on to conduct a test at last month's World Club Cup.
May’s tournament is to be played at the Ta Qali stadium and televised by Eurosport.