The Russia 2018 World Cup’s revolutionary vanishing free kick spray inventor, Heine Allemagne has alleged that he has been left penniless, bankrupt and having to work as a farmhand to survive after FIFA withdrew from a multi-million-pound deal, then stole his idea, Daily Mail Online reports.
Brazilian Allemagne’s foam, which keeps the defenders’ wall 10 yards away and fades away after a minute, was first introduced at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and proved a huge hit.
It has since become a permanent fixture in football after it was adopted by the biggest leagues in the world, including the Premier League, and is being used by referees in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
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Known as the spray’s creator, this time four years ago Allemagne, 47, was staying with football’s world governing body bosses at Rio de Janeiro’s exclusive Copacabana Palace hotel and was being fêted by the biggest names in football, such as Pele and Brazil coach Felipe Scolari.
And he was on the brink of becoming a multi-millionaire after he says FIFA offered to buy the spray for £30million following its unexpected World Cup success in Brazil.
But just months later, Allemagne alleges FIFA merely ‘pretended they’d never heard of me’ then started licensing other firms to manufacture ‘pirate’ versions of the spray, for which Allemagne possesses the only registered global patent.
Allemagne, who had spent 15 years and over £500,000 of his money developing and testing the spray, says FIFA’s ‘betrayal’ left him flat broke and out of work. As he continued to fight them in the courts he fell into a spiral of debt, he says.