Sports / Soccer

Kickoff times taking heat

By Xinhua in Rio de janeiro (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-19 07:36

Brazil's soccer players' association Fenapaf is set to launch legal action against FIFA in a bid to shift lunchtime kickoffs during the World Cup.

In a statement released on Saturday, Fenapaf said a request for a court injunction would be submitted in Sao Paulo on Monday. The action demands each of the tournament's 24 games scheduled for 1 pm be shifted to 5 pm.

"We have reached the conclusion that matches played between 1 pm and 3 pm in the north, northeast and central-west regions are a concern because they could affect players' health," Fenapaf's president Rinaldo Martorelli said in a statement.

The organization is also requesting a mandatory drink break midway through each half.

According to Fenapaf, the action follows a study of players' body temperatures in the World Cup host cities of Brasilia, Manaus, Fortaleza and Sao Paulo conducted last June and July.

"The temperature of some of the players exceeded 40 C," researcher Turibio Leite Barros said. "Any doctor will tell you this presents an imminent risk."

The World Cup will be staged in 12 Brazilian cities from June 12-July 13.

The Amazonian city of Manaus has the highest average temperature in the period - 31 C - followed by Cuiaba (30.7), Fortaleza (29.3), Natal (29) and Recife (28.8).

Meanwhile, Brazil arrives at a crucial moment in its preparations for the Cup as two of its most troubled stadiums stage major test events Sunday.

With FIFA closely monitoring, local organizers will host Brazilian league matches at the Arena Pantanal in the western city of Cuiaba and at the Itaquerao, Sao Paulo's much-delayed stadium where the World Cup opener will be played in a few weeks.

(China Daily 05/19/2014 page24)

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