Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Chief Executive Brendan Schwab this evening said that the concerns over the heat raised by Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold following his team’s match against Perth Glory, which kicked off yesterday in soaring temperatures in Perth, warrant serious consideration by A-League authorities.

The PFA has an established heat monitoring system which it implements for each A-League game.  Based on the accepted standard –  the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) – the PFA’s system provides objective data about the relationship between hot conditions and the risk of heat related injuries to players.

Schwab confirmed that the PFA had raised its concerns with Football Federation Australia (FFA), both clubs and the players on the Tuesday before the match, when it was clear that the forecast WBGT was in the “extreme” range.  The PFA felt this warranted particular attention given the Mariners were returning from an exhausting Asian Champions League match played mid-week in China.

On Friday, FFA assured the PFA that existing A-League policies and procedures would be strictly applied to protect player health and safety.  The decision to kick the match off was made on the day based on medical advice.

Yesterday’s match was the first in 2011/12 to be in the extreme range.  There were two such fixtures in 2010/11.

Schwab said the PFA will be discussing yesterday’s events with FFA, the clubs and the players.

“We will this week speak with the players about the experiences including the symptoms from the heat, hydration, injury and recovery. We will also ask FFA and the clubs to share with us the advice on which it was satisfied player welfare not compromised.

“Like any workplace, FFA and the clubs are legally obliged to provide a work environment free of any unreasonable risk to the health and safety of employees.”

Schwab also said that in the PFA’s recent visits to all A-League players, heat was commonly raised as an issue going to the overall quality of the game.  Players are especially keen for FFA to explore avoiding afternoon kick-offs.

As of round 20 this season, 17 A-League matches had been played in conditions where the WBGT was in the “high to very high” range.  15 of these 17 matches kicked off between 4.00pm and 5.30pm local time.