FIFA unmoved on World Cup start times despite lawsuit


With heat and humidity talking points in both Brazil and in the upcoming 2022 Qatar World Cup, the Brazilian players’ union has filed a lawsuit against FIFA over match start times this summer.

However, the world governing body say they will not change the start times, something they claim has been researched and analyzed for two years.

The World Cup has already introduced drink breaks into the matches, but has not made them mandatory, saying the cooling breaks will be added or not based on the conditions for each individual match.

The players union says FIFA must make cooling breaks mandatory, as well as change the start times to later in the day, or player safety will suffer due to “intense heat.”

“FIFA’s medical team is always monitoring carefully all venues during any FIFA competition to protect the players’ health,” FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA did last year alter the start times of seven matches in the most climates most widely affected by extreme heat and humidity.

“One core aspect in defining the kickoff times was the very thorough analysis of the historical climate data in all venues,” FIFA said. “Therefore, the venues with the highest average temperatures such as Manaus, Cuiaba and Fortaleza do not have any matches with 1 p.m. kickoff times during group stage.”

The United States is scheduled to play Portugal at the Arena da Amazonia (pictured) in Manaus, a hot and humid city in the middle of the Amazon rainforest of which many countries were outspoken about their hopes not to get scheduled there.

The match between the US and Portugal will kick off at 7:00pm local time (6:00pm ET).

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Sergio Aguero expects to miss a month with hamstring injury

Sergio Aguero
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After scoring five goals against Newcastle United, Sergio Aguero may have to wait a bit of time to get back to scoring in the Premier League.

The Manchester City striker lasted just 25 minutes in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier on Thursday, as he was stretchered off with a hamstring injury. 

Aguero underwent testing in Argentina, and told the local media “I think I’m going to be out for a month.”

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Manchester City and Argentina teammate Nicolas Otamendi said Aguero was in tears in the dressing room, and some reports have penned the injury as a torn hamstring.

If Aguero were to be ruled out for a month, he would miss City’s Champions League clash vs. Sevilla, as well as the massive Manchester derby away at United on October 25.

To make matters worse for City supporters, David Silva was forced off after just ten minutes while playing for Spain today. Silva took a harsh challenge from behind, and hobbled off with what looked to be an ankle injury. If Silva’s injury ends up being more than just a knock, City could be without their two most important players in the attack.

Bayern Munich’s Mario Gotze out 10-12 weeks with groin injury

SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 21:  Mario Goetze of FC Bayern Muenchen in action during the international friendly match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Inter Milan of the Audi Football Summit 2015 at Shanghai Stadium on July 21, 2015 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
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Mario Gotze could be out of action until 2016 after picking up a groin injury on international duty.

The Bayern Munich midfielder suffered a tendon tear in his abductor muscle while stretching for a ball in Germany’s 1-0 loss to Ireland in EURO qualifiers on Thursday. He was taken off in the 35th minute.

Ruled out for 10-12 weeks, Gotze is likely to miss the rest of the first half of the season for Bayern. Their last league match of 2015 is on December 19, which is 11 weeks away. The Bundesliga then goes on winter break, with Bayern’s next match not until January 23.

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Gotze will miss both of Bayern’s upcoming Champions League matches against Arsenal, which is good news for the Gunners as they are in desperate need of a result.

However, Arjen Robben is back in training and will make his return to action within the coming weeks. After starting the Bundesliga seasons with eight wins out of eight, Robben’s return would add just another weapon to Pep Guardiola’s dominant attack.

Robben has not played since being injured in early September while playing for the Netherlands, and could feature for Bayern against Werder Bremen next week.