Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has called for the introduction of drink breaks during next year's World Cup finals in Brazil to counter the debilitating effects of heat and humidity at venues in the tropical northeast.
"You can't even give players water because FIFA want the bottles near the goalposts, which can only be of use when there are corner kicks," he told a meeting with foreign reporters in Rome.
"You are risking a situation where teams will kick the ball out for a corner just to drink something," he said. "It sounds like a joke but in fact it is really serious. We will make this request in the next two days."
FIFA has already rejected calls to reconsider its decision to schedule noon kick-offs for some matches in tropical venues.
However, there remains widespread concern that teams playing in the northeastern cities of Fortaleza, Natal, Salvador and Recife will be subjected to punishing conditions, with temperatures soaring above 30 degrees Celsius.
Image: Cesare Prandelli
Photograph: Claudio Villa/Getty Images