Time for a temperature limit?

March 18, 2008

FIFA has put its foot down and refused to reconsider its ban on international matches being played more than 2,750 metres above sea level.

That means that both Ecuador and Bolivia have been turfed out of their traditonial venues in Quito (2,800 metres) and La Paz (3,600 metres) and will have to stage their home World Cup qualifiers in smaller stadiums.

FIFA says it has the welfare of the players at heart. No problem with that argument, but if that’s the case isn’t it about time we introduce a heat limit (and possibly a cold limit) for matches as well? It would be quite simple to work: if the temperature rises above, say, 28 Celsius, then the match will have to wait until the mercury drops or it will have to be played another day or moved to a cooler venue.

Of course, this will play havoc with television schedules and could mean that tournaments such as the World Cup and European championship are moved away from their traditional slots in June. But haven’t FIFA just told us that the health of the players is paramount?

Brazilian clubs, who have to play Libertadores Cup games in the Andes, have been among the vociferous critics of playing matches at high altitude, using terms such as “inhumane” and “a violation of our human rights” to vent their frustration. Yet, when their own federation condemns them to mid-afternoon kick offs at the height of the Brazilian summer for domestic games, they meekly obey.

As hosts of the 2014 World Cup and with many of their proposed venues lying within the tropics, perhaps Brazil would be the ideal place to begin experimenting with a heat limit.

Brian Homewood, Rio de Janeiro

One comment

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If a team is scheduled to play at a certain time.they should respect that,or else you ‘ll find a team playing their home games far away from their actual venue.

Posted by RENDANI PHARAMELA | Report as abusive