SAO PAULO - The Brazilian federation of professional athletes is demanding FIFA change the start times of about a third of World Cup matches because of the heat and humidity in Brazil.
The federation said yesterday it filed a lawsuit asking FIFA to change kickoff times of all 24 matches that were scheduled for 1pm local time.
It wants all matches starting no earlier than 4pm to avoid subjecting players to the "risks" of playing in "intense heat".
The federation based the request on local labour regulations and on a study conducted by a renowned Brazilian sports doctor, Turibio Leite.
The study was a request by the Brazilian athletes' federation and FIFPro, the international football players' union.
In a statement, the professional athletes' federation said, as an alternative, it would accept that matches were stopped for two minutes in each half so players could take water breaks to get hydrated.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but it had already said it would allow breaks depending on weather conditions.
Football's governing body last year altered the starting times of seven matches in the most hot and humid host cities.
At the time, FIFPro had been accusing FIFA of considering "the demands of TV companies of greater importance than the health and safety of the players".
It will be winter in Brazil during the World Cup, but it may be hot and humid in many of the 12 host cities, especially in the northeastern and northern regions.
There was special concern with the jungle city of Manaus, where humidity is expected to significantly affect players' performances.