Game of thirds: FIFA consider three-period games for 2022 World Cup

Michael Beavon says that the organisation will implement the new rule if players are under “extreme risk of injury”.

Blatter and the Qatari football president shake hands after Qatar are appointed as hosts of the 2022 World Cup.
Blatter and the Qatari football president shake hands after Qatar are appointed as hosts of the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA ARE STILL recovering from the uproar caused by their selection of Qatar as hosts of the 2022 World Cup and now a fresh prospective policy has emerged that is likely to attract more criticism for the organisation.

It has been revealed, , by Mike Collett of Reuters, that FIFA are considering playing World Cup games in three thirty-minute periods rather than having the traditional two halves of football, in order to give players a better chance of recovering from the intense heat that is a feature of Qatari summers.

Michael Beavon, a director of Arup Associates in charge of helping to develop cooler temperatures within the stadiums, said there was “a moderate risk of heat injury” if temperatures were between 24C-29C, and an “extreme risk of injury” if temperatures rose above that.

Beavon added:

“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.”

However, a FIFA spokesperson denied claims that any arrangement had been put in place for the scheme, saying: “This possibility has not been discussed.”

Qatar has notoriously hot summers in which weather peaks at around 41C between June and July – temperatures that are likely to prove difficult for players unused to such conditions.

A number of ways of avoiding these circumstances have already been discussed, including the possibility of moving the tournament to a Winter schedule.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter also said in the past that he would consider reopening the vote amid concerns about Qatar’s suitability to host the tournament and allegations of bribery surrounding their winning bid.

Read the full report by Mike Collett in Reuters>

Read more: How a gay rights activist nearly convinced FIFA to denounce homophobia>

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Paul Fennessy

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