Kick off times for Brazil 2014 not influenced by European TV coverage, claim FIFA
Saturday, 29 September 2012
September 29 - Accusations that they put commercial considerations, in particular television coverage in Europe, before the health of players when deciding on kick off times for the 2014 World Cup have been totally rejected by FIFA.
Several matches in Brazil will kick off at lunchtime local time – five hours behind central Europe -- during the driest and hottest part of the day but FIFA insist the schedule had nothing to do with broadcasting.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke (pictured) appeared on the edge of losing his temper at the inference that FIFA were being irresponsible and thoughtless.
"I don't even imagine why and how you could think we are making decisions thinking about the television and not thinking about the health of the players," Valcke told a news conference following a meeting of FIFA's Executive Committee in Zurich.
"Every decision we make takes into consideration the health of the players."
Valcke said Brazilian authorities deliberately wanted teams to move around the country to allow fans to see as many of them as possible.
"We have made a decision to play in all Brazil because that was the request of Brazil," he said.
"You have a country which is not a small country, it is [like] a continent, where it can be two degrees and 26 degrees at the same time on the same day.
"It was also a decision not to play in just in one region of the country but to travel all around the country to give all Brazilians the chance to enjoy England, Germany, Italy and the other top teams."
Having a go back at the media, Valcke said sarcastically: "The match schedule was wrong, the kick off times are wrong."
He then explained: "We have discussed with our medical department, we have been discussing with our local organising committee and finally also with football specialists and they all agree that these kickoff times, wherever we put them, from south of the country to the north, are still at a time where players can play without any problem."
"The match schedule has not been organised just for Brazil to win this World Cup [but] it is true they are lucky to be playing in very good conditions."
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said players should be good enough to adapt.
"The history of football has shown that great players can play in all conditions," he said.
"In Mexico in 1970 and 1986, we played at high noon, at 2,400 metres and the quality of the game did not suffer."
September 2012: Late nights and early mornings for European fans during Brazil 2014