Adelaide’s heat a hot topic for FFA

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For many folk, a day on which the mercury nudges 40 degrees is grounds for not leaving the house. Air-conditioning on, cool beverage in hand, and perhaps a bit of afternoon telly is the only remedy for such torturous weather.

When this happened last Sunday though, it was a suck-it-up kind of day for the Lady Reds and Adelaide United, who hosted Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix respectively in their W-League and A-League fixtures at Coopers Stadium.

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In the press box it was decidedly uncomfortable, so for the players who ran around under the direct gaze of the unforgiving sun it must have been torture.

In fact it was unnecessary and stupid. But it wasn’t the choice of the players – they wanted the game delayed – it was the FFA who refused such requests.

After the Reds and Wellington’s two-all draw, Wellington coach Des Buckingham said that his club had tried to negotiate a later start with the governing body, but it was refused.

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“We tried to enquire about a later kick off but it wasn’t to be… it didn’t happen so we kind of got on with it”, Buckingham said.

“We didn’t specify [a particular time], but just when it’s cooler, for the players welfare.

“[The players] are absolutely shattered… we had a couple of guys at halftime being ill through heat stroke”, he said.

That the men’s game was such an exciting spectacle – more than 30 shots were hit over 90 minutes – is credit to the players who left everything on the pitch. The same can be said about the Lady Reds’ five-two victory over Sydney FC, which took a while to get going but ended up being a goal-rich affair.

But players shouldn’t be driven to nausea and other heat stroke symptoms by the people who manage the competition. The players, after all, are what drag supporters to the stands and encourage TV networks to fork out huge sums of money for broadcast rights.

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To accommodate said players, the FFA instructed referees to have two drinks breaks per half – one every 15 minutes. This was only mildly useful as players were showing symptoms of heatstroke halfway through the matches.

If the FFA had any sense it would have delayed both games. Players were showing signs of heat exhaustion which leads to heat stroke, which can cause brain damage. For the A-League’s administrators to put players at such an unnecessary risk is reprehensible.

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