Among the many controversies of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, one of the biggest is the decision to play games in the remote Amazon city of Manaus. The first match to be played in in the arena will be England vs. Italy tomorrow but the conditions do not fit to host an event, let alone a World Cup match.
FIFPro, the union for players around the world, are upset that matches will take place there. A statement on the FIFPro website says:
“The players deserve a quality playing surface and conditions that reflect what is meant to be the world’s premier football event. This is simply not the case in Manaus. Nobody wants to see the players and the spectacle in general suffer.
“Putting a player in harm’s way is shockingly irresponsible and not how the game ought to be run. Cooling breaks are important, but when and how often they’re introduced during a match is also open to interpretation in order to ensure optimal protection for the players.”
Photographs have been released showing stadium workers spray-painting the pitch green so that the yellow patches of grass across the field are not so noticeable. The pitch also is very bare, sandy and dry. This showcases how bad a idea it was to put a stadium there (due to the extreme weather conditions impacting the quality of the pitch). Plus after the four matches will be played there, the stadium will most likely never be used again.
FIFA uses Web Bulb Globe Temperature, WBGT, to get a better understanding if pitches at a certain location are deemed too severe to play on. FIFA rules state that cooling breaks are a possibility when temperatures reach above 32 degrees Celsius or 90 degrees Fahrenheit. FIFPro does not agree because they used the American College of Sports Medicine’s research that stated cooling breaks should be recommended when temperatures reach 27.9 degrees Celsius or 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
The other matches that will take place in Manaus are Cameroon vs. Croatia on June 18, U.S. vs. Portugal on June 22 and Honduras vs. Switzerland on June 25.
Manaus is located in the middle of the Amazon rain forest, and transportation to the location is difficult. Also, the climate of the region brings in heat and humidity all year round. In the southern hemisphere, it is almost winter but might get even warmer in that area due to the location being in a rain forest.