Some (Suspect) Changes in Kick-off Times for FIFA World Cup™ 2014

Yesterday, I posted the schedule for the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Today, FIFA just announced that several kick-off times will be adjusted because of the expected temperatures at two of the venues, Recife and Manaus. These adjustments effect the schedules for both the United States and England. The amended times are as follows (all time EDT):

14 June (Sat)
12:00pm Colombia v Greece
3:00pm Uruguay v Costa Rica
6:00pm England v Italy (from 9:00pm, in Manaus with similar conditions as 9:00pm)
9:00pm Côte d’Ivoire v Japan (from 6:00pm, in Recife)

18 June (Wed)
12:00pm Australia v Netherlands
3:00pm Spain v Chile (from 6:00pm)
6:00pm Cameroon v Croatia (from 3:00pm, in Manaus)

22 June (Sun)
12:00pm South Korea v Algeria
3:00pm Belgium v Russia (from 6:00pm)
6:00pm USA v Portugal (from 3:00pm, in Manaus)

So matches in Recife were moved from 6:00pm until later and matches in Manaus were moved from 3:00pm to later. What remains to be answered is why the third round of group matches in those venues are not rescheduled as well. For instance, the Croatia v Mexico match—both teams in Brazil’s group—is scheduled for Monday, June 23rd at 4:00pm in Recife. Why would a match at 6:00pm (7:00pm local time) be moved for heat but a match scheduled for 4:00pm (5:00pm local time) not be relocated for the same reason? (note: FIFA stipulates that all third round group matches be played simultaneously, thus requiring a change in start time for the Cameroon v Brazil match as well as the Croatia v Mexico match.) Similarly, the Honduras v Switzerland match is also scheduled for 4:00pm on Wednesday, June 25 in Manaus. If a 3:00pm match in Manaus was delayed for heat until 6:00pm, then why wouldn’t a 4:00pm match one week later not also be delayed? It should also be pointed out that one of the Round of 16 matches is scheduled for Recife at 4:00pm as well.

Additionally, did FIFA not know the heat issues when they announced the match schedule (with dates and times) as well as the venues in October 2011 (over two years ago)? Why is it that changes based on temperatures at the kick-off time were made one day after it was determined what teams were playing in those venues and at those times?

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