Thursday, July 07, 2011

When Two Become Three

I remember once going to watch my brother play football. It was a long, long time ago and it was the sort of Scottish day that was as wet as it was cold.

The sort of day that threatens to drown a diminutive full back and turn a skinny left winger a very unhealthy shade of blue.

The sort of day that might make you despair of a nation that sends ten and eleven year old boys out to play football in such conditions.

The referee obviously didn't share the convinction of the coaches that the game should go ahead.

He pondered, he checked the pitch. And then he set upon a compromise:

"What we'll dae is we'll play three halves instead of two."

The game went ahead. The players had two breaks in which to coax the blood flow back to their extremities. Unfortunate fatalities were avoided.

I was put in mind of this yesterday when I read this:

Michael Beavon, a director of Arup Associates, the company developing the zero-carbon solar technology that can cool the 12 stadiums to be built for the World Cup, told delegates at a Qatar Infrastructure Conference in London that air-cooling could maintain a temperature of around 24 degrees Celsius in the stadiums.


"There is a moderate risk of heat injury to the players between 24C-29C but if you go above that you have high and extreme risk of injury," said Beavon. "The one thing FIFA do say, although it is for guidance, is if it's 32C they will stop a match and play three 30-minute thirds rather than two 45-minute halves.(ESPN)

From the playing field of Midlothian in the 1980s to Qatar's World Cup in 2022.

That's progress. Unless you actually care about the spectacle of the game.

> Fifa have apparently moved to distance themselves from this latest lunacy - a change that would require alterations to the laws of the game. It seems Beavon was floating a balloon and Blatter's battalion have shot it down.

Two breaks would double the amount of time for adverts though. Craven commercialism wrapped up neatly in concern for the health of the players. There will be somebody in the governing body who thinks is an idea worth considering.