FIFA switches late England-Italy WCup kickoff time
FIFA switched the scheduled kickoff times of seven World Cup
matches on Saturday after meeting with broadcasters, having refused
earlier requests made by the FIFPro union to protect players’
The main change involves England vs. Italy which was due to
start at 9 p.m. local time (0100 GMT, 0300 Central European
That high-profile match will now kick off three hours earlier at
6 p.m. local time (2200 GMT; 0000 CET) in the hot and humid
Amazonian jungle city of Manaus.
Two more games in Manaus – Portugal vs. United States and
Cameroon vs. Croatia – have been moved from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. local
FIFPro, the international footballers’ union, had pressed FIFA
not to have the earliest kickoffs in the hottest and most humid
After FIFA declined midweek to alter the two-year-old match
schedule, FIFPro suggested ”that the world’s governing football
body considers the demands of TV companies of greater importance
than the health and safety of the players.”
The changes to seven of the 64-match schedule include three
later starts in the hottest conditions.
The England-Italy switch on the opening Saturday, June 14, means
Ivory Coast vs. Japan will now start at 10 p.m. local time (0100
GMT) in the tropical coastal climate of Recife.
On Wednesday, June 18, Cameroon-Croatia flips kickoff slots with
Spain vs. Chile, which now starts at 4 p.m. (1900 GMT) in Rio de
Janeiro. That means Spain’s appearance at the Maracana stadium will
now start in Spanish prime time instead of midnight back home.
The Portugal-US move forced two other changes on Sunday, June
Belgium vs. Russia will start at 1 p.m. local time (1600 GMT) in
Rio de Janeiro, instead of 7 p.m., which would have required
European viewers to stay up well beyond midnight.
South Korea vs. Algeria was moved to 4 p.m. local time (1900
GMT) in the coolest, most southern World Cup city of Porto Alegre
from 1 p.m.