ROME: FIFA will review once more the scheduled kickoff times for certain early-day matches at the World Cup finals in Brazil next June.
President Sepp Blatter, after an audience with the Pope in the Varitan, said an concern over middway playing conditions had been raised by various organisations including FIFPro, the international players’ union.
A new focus on football in the heat has emerged ever since the award of the 2022 finals to Qatar.
He said: “We will have a meeting of not only the organising committee but the FIFA executive committee and next month in Salvador (before the draw).
“We have received pleas, letters and demands concerning the time schedule . . . we will speak on that.”
However Blatter pointed out that World Cup matches had been played at midday in Mexico in 1970 and 1986 and in Florida, United States, in 1994.
Two matches in each of Natal, Salvador and Recife have been scheduled for 1300 local time, plus one in Fortaleza. There will also be two 1500 kickoffs in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon rain forest.
The most likely outcome is that the kickoff times will be maintained but the referees will be given special dispensation to halt each half for a drinks break, a system already enacted at other FIFA tournaments.