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FIFA shuffles seven Cup start times

Updated: 2013-12-09 07:36
By Associated Press in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil ( China Daily)

FIFA switched the scheduled kickoff times of seven World Cup matches on Saturday after meeting with broadcasters, having refused earlier requests made by the FIFPro union to protect players' health.

The main change involves England versus. Italy, which was due to start at 9 pm local time.

That high-profile match will now kick off three hours earlier at 6 pm in the hot and humid Amazonian jungle city of Manaus.

Two more games in Manaus - Portugal vs the United States and Cameroon vs Croatia - have been moved from 3 pm to 6 pm.

FIFPro, the international footballers' union, had pressed FIFA not to have the earliest kickoffs in the hottest and most humid weather conditions.

After FIFA declined midweek to alter the two-year-old match schedule, FIFPro suggested "that the world's governing football body considers the demands of TV companies of greater importance than the health and safety of the players".

The changes to seven games on the 64-match schedule include three later starts in the hottest conditions.

The England-Italy switch on the opening Saturday, June 14, means Cote d'Ivoire against Japan will now start at 10 pm in the tropical coastal climate of Recife.

On Wednesday, June 18, Cameroon-Croatia flips kickoff slots with Spain vs Chile, which now starts at 4 pm in Rio de Janeiro. That means Spain's appearance at the Maracana stadium will now start in Spanish prime time instead of midnight back home.

The Portugal-US move forced two other changes on Sunday, June 22.

Belgium against Russia will start at 1 pm in Rio de Janeiro, instead of 7 pm, which would have required European viewers to stay up well beyond midnight.

South Korea and Algeria was moved to 4 pm local time in the coolest, most southern World Cup city of Porto Alegre from 1pm.

(China Daily 12/09/2013 page23)