The human body maintains a constant core temperature that usually ranges from 36.1°C to 37.8°C. Extreme weather conditions – especially heat and cold – trigger physiological responses that can damage health and performance.
In extreme heat, players are at risk of suffering from heat-stress disorders such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat strokes.
To prevent or mitigate this risk, guidelines relying on the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) should measure the conditions. The WBGT is a composite temperature calculated from several relevant parameters such as air temperature, humidity, sun exposure or wind speed. It is recognised and monitored by FIFA before matches using a special temperature device.
In extreme cold, players can be at risk to hypothermia or frostbite when their bodies experience excessive heat loss.
FIFA’s position on extreme heat
If there is a WGBT of more than 32°C (89.6°F) cooling breaks are mandatory in both halves of a match, around the 30th minute and 75th minute; the decision on whether to suspend or cancel the match is at the discretion of competition organisers.
FIFPRO’s position on extreme heat
FIFPRO believes that FIFA’s guidelines do not do enough to protect the health and performance of players. We recommend that if there is a WBGT between 28°C-32°C, cooling breaks should take place around the 30th minute and 75th minute. If there is a WBGT of more than 32°C, training and matches should be rescheduled.
Frequency of cooling breaks
It is also worth noting that athletes cannot digest more than 250ml of water every 20 minutes and therefore ideally breaks should be short and frequent, with the option of extra breaks in the 15th and 60th minutes in addition to those in the 30th and 75th minutes.
FIFPRO’s position on extreme cold
There is no specific guidance by FIFA on extreme cold. FIFPRO recommends that training and matches be cancelled and rescheduled when the air temperature is less than -15°C and when the Wind Chill Temperature is less than -27°C.