Inspired by the World Cup in Brazil, officials at Wimbledon have announced that they will now be able to keep tennis fans heading to SW19 this week a ‘safe distance’ from entertainer and Centre Court regular Sir Cliff Richard, using ‘vanishing foam’.
The magic foam, currently in use by referees at this year’s World Cup, acts as a temporary visual marker to keep a defending wall a fair distance from a free-kick taker. Bosses at Wimbledon have said the spray is the ‘perfect solution’ to their problems of keeping Cliff Richard away from unsuspecting crowds.
‘This spray just provides us with the flexibility to keep with the traditions of the tournament whilst maximising spectator enjoyment’, said the head of the Lawn Tennis Association, Roger Draper. ‘We appreciate that he has to be here, but previously we could only cordon him off with a bit of rope and some cones, but that’s a nightmare to organise. Now we can keep Cliff at bay with a pocket-sized mixture of butane, water and a foaming agent. It’s ideal’.
He continued: ‘The thing is, the British public know how to handle Cliff: They can point at him from a safe distance for a few minutes and then just quickly leave, but we have to appreciate that a large percentage of these people are from outside the UK. Our visitors from abroad just think he’s a slightly suspicious old person busking for some money. I suppose technically speaking they’re correct’.
SW19 Chief of Security Nigel Jones, who will be delegating the team of officials tasked with utilising the spray foam at a moment’s notice, said: ‘Whenever there’s a large crowd approaching, an official will encircle Cliff in a ring of bubbly foam, roughly fifty metres away, which should hold firm until the crowd passes. He’ll then be free to carry on with his dancing – or posing for a calendar – or whatever it is he does now’.
When pressed for details on where the 73-year-old entertainer will be placed in proximity to Centre Court for the big final in two weeks, Jones added: ‘We’re not completely sure yet, but possibly somewhere on the outskirts of Birmingham. Or Edinburgh, perhaps’.