May 26, 2017 / 7:01 PM / 4 months ago

Spain's players' union calls for later games as summer kicks in

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Spanish soccer players’ union AFE said on Friday it had asked for an urgent meeting with the league’s organising body to ask that games in the summer months take place at night to avoid playing when temperatures are hottest.

The first tier La Liga season finished last week, but Spain’s second tier Segunda Division still has three weeks remaining and four play-off games. Play-off games in other divisions are also still to take place.

Temperatures will be as high as 33 degrees Celsius this weekend in Madrid and 30 degrees in Seville, where Segunda Division games are taking place in the early evening and mid afternoon.

“The time has come to see if the league is only committed to television operators or whether they also care about the health of those on the pitch and on the stands,” Xavi Oliva, managing director of AFE, told reporters.

Oliva said the organisation was also concerned about games at the start of next season in Spain’s hottest, asking that the organisers set kick off times according to likely temperatures where games are taking place.

The AFE has asked for the league and the Spanish soccer federation, the RFEF, to allow referees to stop play for water breaks, as occurred in the 2014 World Cup.

“By doing this we can be sure that the footballers and other actors in the sport can do their job safely and that fans can enjoy the spectacle of football in the right conditions.”

Editing by Edmund Blair

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