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Football facing a future with global warming: perspectives for players health and performance
  1. Lars Nybo1,
  2. Andreas D Flouris2,
  3. Sebastien Racinais3,
  4. Magni Mohr4
  1. 1 NEXS, University of Copenhagen, Smørum, Denmark
  2. 2 FAME Laboratory, Centre for Research and Technology Thessaly, Trikala, Greece
  3. 3 Research Education Centre, ASPETAR - Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  4. 4 Centre of Health Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Health Sciences, University of the Faroe Islands, Thorshavn, Faroe Islands
  1. Correspondence to Professor Lars Nybo, NEXS, University of Copenhagen, Smørum 2100, Denmark; nybo{at}

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Escalating environmental temperatures are expected to influence performance and planning of several future football events, for example, FIFA World Cups, regular league and continental cup matches and climate projections for Tokyo (Olympic Games postponed to August 2021) implies that athletes are facing high heat exposure in the next Olympic football tournament. Prompted by global warming, but also with current conditions and historic heat-events in mind, it is relevant to consider the consequences for football play and players health. Heat stress has detrimental effects on endurance performances and sudden or extreme exposure is a major health concern.1 2 Moreover, heat stress could, in some situations, create an unsportsmanlike competitive advantage for the home team3 and fair play may require special planning and precaution procedures.

Scientific football research with control and hot matches completed with standardised set-up1 as well as retrospective analyses of the 2014 FIFA World Cup2 reveal a characteristic change in game activity pattern including a marked reduction in high-intensity running. However, the overall fatigue development is not affected and peak sprinting speeds appear slightly higher when playing in the heat. The majority of sprint efforts in a game last 1–3 s4 and may benefit …

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  • Contributors The outline and idea was developed and discussed by all the four authors. Initial draft created by LN followed by active contribution/review from all coauthors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.