FIFPro Sounds Off Against Brazil 2014 Kickoff Times

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(WFI) Secretary general Theo van Seggelen says it’s FIFPro’s “duty” to protect players against midday match times in the hottest host cities of the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

Theo van Seggelen (Getty)
"It's an issue for us and a serious one. We will discuss it and depending on the outcome we will go back to FIFA," he told Reuters on Monday.

"It would be unrealistic to say we would not play, that's going too far. But we would like to know all the details and why it seems not to be a problem [to FIFA] and why we think it is a problem.”

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 September press conference 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 at the time.

“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.”

The National Federation of Professional Football Athletes in Brazil has, however, promised to fight the schedule, and now FIFPro is following suit.

"We realize World Cups are a real business, but of course it cannot be that business is more important than the health of the players,” van Seggelen was quoted by Reuters.

"It is not only a matter of the health of the players but is also to do with the quality of the game. The World Cup has to be played in the most ideal circumstances."

Rio de Janeiro, Cuiaba, Manaus, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Fortaleza are the other nine cities staging the World Cup.

By INSIDER's Matthew Grayson

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Brazil 2014