Just days before the commencement of the 2014 World Cup, FIFA was served suit by the Brazil’s Athletes Federation. The Brazil’s Athletes Federation was looking to have the schedule of the games modified, particularly the start times and the mandatory “cooling breaks”. The intended schedule of the 24 matches beginning at 1pm Brazil time were the main complaint of the Brazil’s Athletes Federation. The federation believes all games should begin no earlier than 4pm. This time change causes major issues with worldwide broadcasting due to the time zone differences around the world.
The high heat index and humidity levels of Brazil caused concerns for the Brazil’s Athletes Federation. Although it is currently winter in Brazil, it is still hot and humid in many of the 12 host cities, especially in the northeastern and northern regions. The jungle based city of Manaus has gotten much attention due to its extreme humidity. For this reason, Manaus, as well as Cuiaba and Fortaleza will not have any 1pm start time matches. FIFA stated that “One core aspect in defining the kickoff times was the very thorough analysis of the historical climate data in all venues,” Many of the teams, such as Italy and England, have trained extensively in high humidity environments in order to prepare for these matches.
The Brazil’s Athletes Federation’s desire to change match times was denied by FIFA who claimed the game times and breaks were determined by 2 years of research and data analysis. “FIFA’s medical team is always monitoring carefully all venues during any FIFA competition to protect the players’ health.” Accusations of FIFA putting broadcasting profits before players safety were responded to with the use of of “cooling breaks”. FIFA stated that “Official and mandatory cooling breaks will not be pre-established. Rather, climate conditions will be evaluated prior to each match by the FIFA venue medical officer.” One thing is certain, the heat of the games is not limited to the temperature reading on the thermometer!