Judge orders World Cup water breaks if heat reaches 32 degrees C

RIO DE JANEIRO - A Brazilian judge on Friday ordered FIFA to follow its own guidelines and stop play at all World Cup games every thirty minutes for a water break if the temperature is 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) or higher.

Rogerio Neiva Pinheiro, a judge of Brazil's Labor Court in Brasilia, also ordered that FIFA face a 200,000 real (S$112,000) fine for each game that it fails to comply with the water-break rule.

The suit was brought on behalf of players at the World Cup by independent government labour-code prosecutors who had sought a ruling imposing water breaks on the Brazilian labour-regulation standard of 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), the ruling said.

FIFA dismissed the decision as largely irrelevant. "We did not reach or exceed 32 degrees at any moment in any game so far," FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer told Reuters.

"The court is only ordering us to follow our own procedures which we have always planned to do." FIFA is facing a growing wave of criticism for its insistence that countries hosting its major events such as the World Cup adapt their laws to meet FIFA's needs.

Brazil has already agreed to suspend a ban on the sale of beer at stadiums during the Cup, implemented to reduce brawling and deaths among fans, at the request of FIFA and key sponsor, brewing giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA.

FIFA did not say if it plans to challenge the ruling. Public prosecutors in Brazil frequently challenge companies and individuals in court. While injunctions are frequently granted, they are also frequently overturned, adding to Brazilian legal costs with little actual impact on behaviour.