Fifa are considering allowing matches at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be played over three 30-minute periods if temperatures in the stadiums became dangerously high for the players.
In the week that Sepp Blatter met Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean despot it would appear to be another moment of bizarreness with world football following the much criticised awarding of the finals to the tiny Arab state.
Michael Beavon, a director of Arup Associates who helped to develop the zero-carbon solar technology that will cool the 12 stadiums, with Irish building firm SISK, involved in the construction, told delegates at the Qatar Infrastructure Conference in London that the air-cooling would maintain a comfortable temperature of around 24 degrees Celsius in the stadiums.
“There is a moderate risk of heat injury to the players between 24C-29C but if you go above that you have high and extreme risk of injury. The one thing Fifa do say, although it is for guidance, is if it’s 32C they will stop a match and play three 30-minute thirds rather than two 45-minute halves.
“The reason would be to re-hydrate the players before they could carry on playing. That of course would play havoc with TV schedules and those kind of things. The commitment from Qatar was to provide conditions in the moderate band, so that matches would go ahead and be played as normal. Matches have to be played at an acceptable temperature and in safety so that Fifa do not intervene.”
However a Fifa spokesperson told Reuters that such a drastic change to the way the game is not something that was on the governing body’s agenda. “This possibility has not been discussed,” the spokesperson said. “In any case, this would require a change in the Laws of the Game, and therefore would have to be analysed and approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in the first place.”