FIFA defends World Cup kickoff times after being sued

A boy holds up an official 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer ball as children sit at what is meant to represent a public school classroom, in Rio de Janeiro. (File photo: Reuters)

FIFA is not considering changing kickoff times or adding mandatory cooling breaks during World Cup matches after being sued by Brazil’s athletes’ federation because of health concerns.

FIFA says it spent nearly two years analyzing starting times for the tournament in Brazil and always took into consideration the players’ health.

The athletes’ federation filed a lawsuit this week to change kickoff times of the 24 matches scheduled to start at 1 p.m. local time (1600 GMT), saying players would be at risk because of intense heat and humidity in some venues. It said FIFA, at least, must introduce two-minute water breaks in each half during those matches.

FIFA said on Wednesday cooling breaks “will not be pre-established” and “will be considered on a match-by-match basis for the 64 matches.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43