World Cup 2014: England v Italy kick-off could change from 2am start as Manaus tourist board warn of 'alligator risk'
Broadcasters want the 2am GMT kick-off brought forward while fans have been warned that 'it is possible to meet alligators at night' in the Amazonian city
Saturday 07 December 2013
England are expected to find out by the end of Saturday whether the kick-off time for their World Cup match against Italy will be brought forward to appease broadcasters.
England's worst fears were confirmed on Friday when the Three Lions were handed an opening fixture against Italy on June 14 in the sweltering heat of Manaus.
The jungle city, which lies right in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, experiences temperatures of more than 30 degrees centigrade, and humidity levels are expected to exceed 80 per cent.
The jungle is a big selling point for Manaus, but a pamphlet handed out by the local tourist board also warns, rather worryingly, that "it is possible to meet alligators at night."
Providing they do not have any run-ins with the local wildlife, Roy Hodgson's team are due to kick-off against Italy at 9pm local time, which is good news for England because temperatures will be lower than during the day.
Broadcasters want the time of the game brought forward by a few hours, however, because as it stands, kick-off would be 2am the following morning in the UK and 3am in Italy.
FIFA confirmed on Saturday afternoon that it was negotiating with English broadcasters ITV and their Italian counterparts Rai over the matter in Salvador, where the draw was made.
"We should have an answer by the end of the day," a FIFA spokeswoman said.
England have no influence on the kick-off time, but it is clear that the do not want it moved forward.
Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said: "That's something for TV and FIFA and we have no control over it.
"But playing at 9pm in Manaus is clearly helpful from our side and from a football point of view.
"We can't deny that it's better to play in Manaus later in the day."
FIFA said there was no chance of the venue being changed despite the Italian delegation raising concerns about the energy-sapping conditions in the city.
Barbara Moschini, from the Italian delegation, said after the draw: "It's a nightmare. It might be a good story for the tournament but not in any other way."
More to follow...
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