THE head of the A-League has rejected suggestions players would be put at risk in Sunday’s forecast 42-degree scorcher in Albury.
But the league has confirmed the Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart encounter would be split into quarters to protect players and officials from heat stress.
Damien de Bohun’s comments come just 24 hours after Glory coach Kenny Lowe slammed the 3pm kick-off at the Lavington Oval and called for the start to be delayed.
De Bohun said drinks breaks would be taken in both halves, irrespective of whether the heat exceeded their wet bulb litmus test that triggers such actions.
The A-League boss said they were already monitoring conditions at the ground and would continue to do so right up until kick-off.
“Football Federation Australia follows a heat policy that was developed and implemented by the FFA Head of Medical Services, Dr Jeff Steinweg and which is consistent with the American College of Sports Medicine’s Position Statement,” de Bohun said.
“This policy is guided by the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature which takes into account the air temperature, humidity, wind and radiation to provide a more accurate indicator of the risk of heat-related injuries.
“This policy suggests a WBGT of 28 degrees as the point above which a game should be considered being postponed.
“We have been monitoring the WBGT in Albury throughout the week and we will make a decision prior to kick-off if the conditions look to be above the threshold.
“Even if the WBGT is below the threshold we will implement drinks breaks to further ensure the safety of the players and match officials on the field.
“Everyone should rest assured that player and match official safety is our primary consideration and we would not do anything to compromise their welfare.”
The A-League heat policy allows for drinks breaks in the middle of each half, generally at the 22-minute mark.
No previous A-League game has been either deferred or postponed because of the heat.
The Lavington game will kick-off at 3pm Sunday.