World Cup

FIFA sticks with WC kickoff times

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COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP)

AT CLOSE RANGE

With the World Cup one year away, Brazil's final sprint starts now.

FIFA says it won't switch early World Cup kickoff times in tropical cities despite concern by the international players' union.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says the match schedule won't vary from the original made in October 2011. He spoke Tuesday after a meeting of the governing body's World Cup organizing committee.

Blatter previously suggested the 1 PM kickoff times could be re-evaluated in northeastern coastal cities because of tropical heat and humidity. Fortaleza, Natal, Recife and Salvador will host a combined seven matches starting at 1 p.m. local time, including a knockout game in the second round.

FIFPro, the international players' union, had formally asked FIFA to consider moving the matches to later in the day.

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