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Thu 7 Jul 2011 11:29 AM

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Qatar World Cup matches could be split into 'thirds'

Heat levels could force two 'half-times' during football matches as per FIFA guidance

Qatar World Cup matches could be split into 'thirds'
Inside the Al Gharafa Stadium, which will be upgraded should Qatar win the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar World Cup matches could be split into 'thirds'
(Getty Images)
Qatar World Cup matches could be split into 'thirds'
The 45,330-seater Al-Khor stadium will be situated in the north east of Qatar.
Qatar World Cup matches could be split into 'thirds'
(AFP/Getty Images)

FIFA ‘guidance’ could allow games at the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals to be split into three 30-minute ‘thirds’ rather than the traditional 45-minute halves due to dangerous heat levels, according to an engineer who has worked on cooling systems for the Gulf state’s stadiums.

Arup Associates director Michael Beavon told delegates at the Qatar Infrastructure Conference in the UK that FIFA guidelines stipulated that matches played in temperatures of over 32C would be played in thirds to allow players to rehydrate.

“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,” Beavon said, in remarks quoted by Reuters.

“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,” Beavon added.

Arup helped develop the zero-carbon solar technology that will help cool the 12 stadiums that Qatar is building to host the tournament.

However, a FIFA spokesman told Reuters: “This possibility has not been discussed. 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.”

Qatar was awarded the World Cup in December last year, and is spending an estimated $57bn on infrastructure to ensure that it is ready to host the tournament in a decade’s time.

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Sandpiper 8 years ago

Ridiculous, you cant start changing the rules of the game just because FIFA didn't do their homework and check the summertime temperatures in Qatar before their absurd decision.

Wildwine 8 years ago

If it is going to be cooled to 27C, why do they have to make it thirds?
Actually, if they are going to play @ 45c+, they might have to make it Sixths!!!!!

Dod 8 years ago

You can't play football as we know it outdoors in the Gulf countries in the summer full stop.

The whole thing is utterly mystifying

SRF 8 years ago

I thought the matches were going to be played in air-conditioned stadiums??

Lionheart 8 years ago

The competition in Qatar will not happen , Platini will see to that in 4 years time.

It is what it is 8 years ago

It sounds like the engineer doesn't have much confidence in his cooling technology.

Arjun 8 years ago

More funny things to hear......watch out guys.

Jon 8 years ago

Is this the first admission that the cooling technology is not going to work as thought?

And the claims to be "carbon free" are totally misleading - solar panels typically need 10 years of operation to become carbon neutral; so it's just more smoke and mirrors...

disturbed of dubai 8 years ago

look out for a change in football design too. we could ban boots and use tennis balls on astroturf and make it much more easier to award the world cup to a third world team that play in bare feet AND have the award ceremony before the opening ceremony. That should suffice to see Blatter out on the high note he craves...

Paul King 8 years ago

In 100 years time, history teachers will show how farcial and wrong the human race could be by explaining that we once thought the world was flat and FIFA awarded a world cup to Qatar!