By Nick Butler

Sepp Blatter could make a u-turn over timing of matches for Brazil 2014 ©AFP / Getty ImagesNovember 25 - FIFA President Sepp Blatter has reacted to widespread criticism about kickoff times at next year's World Cup in Brazil by claiming matches could after all be moved to cooler times later in the day.


FIFA have been accused of putting commercial gain over player welfare by scheduling group matches for 1pm in the tropical cities of Natal, Recife and Salvador, despite summer temperatures likely to be in excess of 30 degrees.

With Europe providing 13 of the 32 competing team, it is believed that ensuring times conducive to the early evening European television market has been an important influence in FIFA's stance.

Until now they have resisted any attempts to move the matches and have insisted that the timing has occurred in a bid to meet Brazil 2014's aim of ensuring teams travel around the country.

However Blatter has now admitted that the Organising Committee will "take up the question again".

"We will have a meeting of not only the organising committee but the FIFA Executive Committee and [in December] in Salvador," he said, according to Reuters.

"We have received different pleas, letters and demands concerning the time schedule that has been established, but which has not yet been sanctioned - we will speak on that,"

The scheduling of matches is the latest issue faced by FIFA in the buildup to Brazil 2014 ©Getty ImagesThe scheduling of matches is the latest issue faced by FIFA in the buildup to Brazil 2014 ©Getty Images


The criticism of FIFA's stance has been orchestrated by the world players' union FIFPro.

The organisation are awaiting a detailed report about conditions in Brazil, but secretary-general Theo van Seggelen has hinted the organisation could take a stronger position in future after FIFA failed to consult players over scheduling for the 2014 World Cup.

He admitted that "unfortunately, we are going to have to start playing hardball, not because we want to but because we have no other choice."

FIFPro have also warned that potential heat issues at next year's World Cup, along with other important footballing issues, have been overshadowed by the ongoing furore over the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

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