This is a good reminder for all referees and coaches for the upcoming season!
Some referees using common sense decide to stop the game when it is too hot and allow the players to hydrate as a way to prevent heat related problems. Other referees, on the other hand, do not allow this during regular time. They don’t want to stop the game, arguing that FIFA prohibits this practice. Who is right? Let's see...
Analysis of the situation.
"The loss of 5% of a player’s body fluid during a match is enough to substantially undermine performance. More so, in that further loss can cause an acute phase of dehydration.” This was the conclusion reached by members of the FIFA medical commission and is the reason it was suggested to the Referee’s Committee of soccer’s governing body, that “they were required to stop the game for one or two minutes for hydration in the event of high temperatures” in order to prevent any player suffering heat related injury.
The FIFA Referees Committee accepted the proposal made by its counterpart, however, not as it was originally proposed. They stated that “the referee should be allowed, if the game is played in high heat, to temporarily stop for a minute for all players to hydrate,” as a way to protect the physical health of players.
The referee's discretion prevails.
The Referees Committee does not provide within forty five (45) minutes in regular time, a special period during which the referee should stop the game for players to drink fluids. Everything was left to the discretion of the referee who, depending on the temperature, could decide to stop play.
When asked about this topic, Dr. Carlos Alarcon, President of the Referees Committee of the South American Soccer Confederation said,” A referee stopping the game for players to hydrate under FIFA authority is not illegal and not based on a referee’s whim but an action that has already been analyzed with the procedure provided for.” Therefore, this official statement settles discussion on this issue.