FIFA sets World Cup kick-off times

BY foxsports • September 27, 2012

European fans face the prospect of watching World Cup games in 2014 at 3am.

FIFA's executive committee announced that the opening match of the 20th World Cup will take place in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014, with a local kick-off time of 5pm.

The largest city in Brazil, Sao Paulo is five hours behind Central European Time, with host cities Cuiaba and Manaus further west and consequently an extra hour behind.

Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador will also host games and fall in line with Sao Paulo.

A statement released by FIFA read: "Group-stage games will be played at 1pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 9pm local time, with knockout stage matches at 1pm and 5pm local time.

"The semi-finals will be played at 5pm local time and the final, on July 13, at the iconic Maracana stadium (in Rio de Janeiro), at 4pm local time.

"All kick-offs are local time, with Cuiaba and Manaus being Central European Time -6, all other venues CET -5."

Central European Time covers the majority of western Europe - including Spain, France, Italy and Germany - with the United Kingdom and Portugal conforming to Western European Time, which is one hour behind.

The 1994 tournament, held in the United States and won by Brazil, was the first World Cup to host matches in different time zones.

The statement also explains how FIFA took local temperatures, global television scheduling and equal rest periods for teams into consideration, among other factors, when defining the kick-off times.

The final draw for the group stages will take place on December 6, 2013 in Bahia.