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Brazilian union hits out at World Cup kick-off times

Brazilian union hits out at World Cup kick-off times

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The professional football athletes’ union in Brazil, the National Federation of Professional Football Athletes, has pledged to fight the plan to schedule 2014 FIFA World Cup games during the afternoon in tropical cities in the country.

The professional football athletes’ union in Brazil, the National Federation of Professional Football Athletes, has pledged to fight the plan to schedule 2014 FIFA World Cup games during the afternoon in tropical cities in the country.

The union’s president Rinaldo Martorelli, told the Associated Press that his organisation would oppose the schedule on the grounds that players’ health could be put in jeopardy. Martorelli has already notified the country’s Sports Minister, Aldo Rebelo, and the Brazilian football federation that the organisation is against the early kick-off times. A total of 24 of the 64 World Cup matches will start at 1pm local time.

There is particular concern about a total of six games that have been scheduled to start at 1pm across the three north-eastern cities of Natal, Recife and Salvador, with temperatures expected to reach about 90 degrees Fahrenheit in June, and also the five 1pm kick-offs slated for the capital city, Brasilia. “The goal is not to be radical, but to be able to have a discussion with those responsible for the World Cup, so we can make decisions which are positive for everybody,” Martorelli said. He added that the union would like to discuss the kick-off times with FIFA and local World Cup organisers in an attempt to resolve the “problem”.

The union stated: “We are sending a message to FIFA to alert them of our concern regarding these issues and saying that we will defend the professional athletes’ rights in every level.” Last week, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke rejected suggestions that commercial opportunities had been prioritised over player safety in the scheduling of the games by saying said that “the health of the player and the quality of the game is on the top of the list before any other consideration, and definitely no commercial consideration”.

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