ZURICH (AP) – FIFA's top 2014 World Cup official says players' health has not been compromised to please European broadcasters after some matches were scheduled in early-afternoon heat in Brazil.
Secretary General Jerome Valcke says ''the health of the player and the quality of the game is on the top of the list'' of considerations.
FIFA detailed group-stage kickoff times Thursday with tropical cities Natal, Recife and Salvador each hosting two matches at 1 p.m. local time - 6 p.m. in central Europe.
Pressed by Brazilian reporters at a news conference, Valcke says ''I can't even imagine why and how you could think that we are making decisions thinking about the television.''
The kickoff slots of 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. mean the latest matches start at midnight in central Europe.