Water breaks in sport have become a regular feature when teams participate in hot conditions in recent years.
At the 2022 World Cup in the desert in Qatar, where temperatures can get as high as 35 degrees Celsius, games were halted regularly to allow players the opportunity to take in some fluids.
This has also happened regularly in the United Rugby Championship, a competition which features teams who would need time to acclimatise to the conditions due to playing in different seasons.
But what about the PSL? Does South Africa’s domestic football have any protocols in place for when it gets too hot? Yes... and no.
PSL does not have mandatory water breaks
According to the guidelines on health and match day protocols, the PSL does not have mandatory water or cooling breaks. However, it will be up to the match officials to decide on the day if such breaks are necessary.
During the middle of the domestic soccer season, in the peak summer months, temperatures can get as high as 35 degrees Celsius.
Fifa’s stance on the issue is that water breaks should be mandatory should the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) exceed 32 degrees Celcius.
According to global professional footballers’ union FIFPRO, the WBGT is a composite temperature calculated from several relevant parameters such as air temperature, humidity, sun exposure or wind speed. It is recognised and monitored by FIFA before matches using a special temperature device.
FIFPRO’s, though, believe water breaks should be introduced when the WBGT is between 28 and 32 degrees Celcius, with games and practice sessions rescheduled should it exceed 32 degrees.
Played in 33 degrees Celcius temperature and 26% humidity, Banyana Banyana’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burking Faso on Monday had a WBGT measurement of 18.8 degrees Celcius and did not require any mandatory water breaks.