Concerned that the stadiums will not be sufficiently cool for 2022 World Cup players, FIFA is unofficially mulling over the possibility of allowing three 30 minute thirds instead of two 45 minute halves. This is according to Michael Beavon, the Arup Associate Director who helped develop the zero-carbon cooling technology for the 12 stadiums that he insists should obviate the need for such measures.
Temperatures between 75.2 and 84.2 degrees Fahrenheit carry moderate risk for players. As part of its bid, Qatar has committed itself to maintaining this kind of internal environment. And Beavon is convinced they will be able to do so, particularly as technology is expected to advance within the next decade leading up to 2022.
Should temperatures exceed 89.6 degrees, FIFA has said as a guidance measure, according to Beavon, that they will switch to thirds in order to ensure that players can be appropriately hydrated. This will reduce their risk of heat-related injury.
Bending the rules
Switching from halves to thirds is not only against FIFA rules, but would also create serious inconvenience to television networks around the world accustomed to standard game schedules.
In order for the rules to be changed, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) would have to first analyze and approve the measure.
When FIFA officials visited Qatar during the bidding process, outdoor temperatures hovered at 111.2 degrees Fahrenheit, roughly the temperature that officials expect during the World Cup. (Although, this does not take into consideration that in one decade, climate change could increase temperatures in the region).
Beavon explained to Reuters why Arup is confident that their technology will successfully maintain temperatures that will be comfortable for the players:
Over the next 11 years the technology will be improved and of course there will be a back-up system. With a solar-powered system it is almost 100 percent guaranteed now, and we have no real fears that it would fail.
He added, though, that it is sensible for FIFA to think ahead and make room for the possibility of failure. That’s just good common sense. But soccer afficionados around the world are likely to have an opinion or two about the bending of rules.
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image via CTD 2005