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Colombian football’s first division has reversed an order for matches to take place at the hottest time of the day after sit-down protests by players.

Dozens of footballers sat down on the field before games last weekend after championship organizer Dimayor ordered matches to take place between 10am and 4pm as part of a government initiative to save energy.

Colombian players’ union Acolfutpro filed a complaint to the Labour Ministry that said playing games when the temperature is as high as 40 degrees Centigrade was dangerous.

The union cited a paper by FIFPro chief medical officer Vincent Gouttebarge that said playing matches at temperatures over 38 degrees Centigrade are an "extreme" health risk.

It was not until yesterday (April 13th), almost a month after unilaterally changing the match schedule, that Dimayor agreed to hold discussions with the union.

The Colombian union welcomed the return to the normal evening schedule the weekend after next.

“Acolfutpro thanks all our members for their commitment, union and solidarity in defense of professional football players in Colombia,” the statement said.

In Bolivia, players have also forced football authorities to stop ignoring them. 

All 12 first-division teams signed an agreement that they won’t make themselves available for June's Copa America unless the Bolivian federation enforces 32 rulings to pay $650,000 in outstanding wages to players and coaches.

Late last week, after a meeting with players' union FABOL, the federation pledged to fine clubs which do not abide by the rulings.

Bolivia is one of 16 teams scheduled to play in the centenary edition of South America’s biggest national-team tournament which takes place in the U.S.

David Paniagua, General Secretary of the union, said it's the third time in recent years that players have had to threaten a tournament boycott over the same issue.

“We are tired of taking this course of action but we don't have an alternative," Paniagua said.

 

 

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