Newsdesk - Union Cries Foul Over Brazil 2014 Kickoff Times; Match-Fixing in Bulgaria?

Bookmark and Share
(WFI) Brazilian footballers are taking a stand against midday match times in the hottest host cities of the 2014 World Cup.
Rinaldo Martorelli, president of the National Federation of Professional Football Athletes. (FIFPro)

"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," reads a statement from the National Federation of Professional Football Athletes.

Union president Rinaldo Martorelli tells the Associated Press his members are not trying to be “radical” but will take all necessary measures – including legal action – to alter the schedule announced last month by FIFA.

The northeastern cities of Natal, Recife and Salvador are due to host four group matches a piece, half of which begin play at 1 p.m. local time – when temperatures in June can reach the mid 30s Celsius.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke fielded repeated questions about the kickoff times during a press conference last Friday in Zurich, denying concerns that the tournament would suffer poor play due to intense summer heat. 

“There is not much choice on the match schedule, and we have to adapt ourselves,” he told reporters.

“FIFA’s medical department, the Local Organising Committee and football specialists all agreed these kickoffs were still times where players can play without any problems.”

Match-Fixing Probe Builds Steam in Bulgaria

Bulgarian great Hristo Stoichkov will be questioned by state authorities over his allegations of match-fixing within the country’s top football league.

Hristo Stoichkov. (Getty Images)
Sofia News Agency reports that the former Barcelona forward has been asked by the Chief Directorate for Combating Organized Crime to better explain his suggestions that the federal government and Bulgarian Football Union are failing to stop the crime.

Stoichkov, now the coach of Litex Lovech, alleged last month that BFU boss Borislav Mikhailov is among those involved in the match-fixing.

"The questioning of Hristo Stoichkov is a normal procedure after such statements," Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said in a statement.

Owners and officials are also expected to be questioned, according to the Sofia News Agency.

Italian Admits to Fixing

Andrea Masiello will serve a 22-month suspended sentence after admitting he scored an own-goal to help an opposing club stay in Italy’s top tier.

According to an Associated Press report, the former Bari defender told prosecutors he made $230,000 in exchange for the crime.

Two of his betting friends also received suspended 17-month sentences for their roles. The trio stood accused of fixing four matches from two seasons ago.

By INSIDER's Matthew Grayson

Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER

Get Free WFI news bulletins Click Here

(Copyright 1992 - , all rights reserved. The information in this report may not be published, excerpted, or otherwise distributed in print or broadcast without the express prior consent of World Football Insider and Around the Rings, Inc.)

 WFI Spotlight