FIFA doesn’t want you to get high

Now this isn’t something you see every day:

Demonstrations are planned in Bolivia and Ecuador over a ban by
football body Fifa on internationals more than 2,500m (8,200ft) above
sea level.

Fifa says there are fears that the high altitude can harm players’
health and possibly distort competition.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has called a meeting of officials from
Latin American countries that play their home games at altitude.
He vowed Latin America would not be divided by the “shady actions” of
Fifa.

Demonstrators in the Bolivian capital, La Paz, plan a protest of
physical exercise to prove there is no ill effect.
President Morales will take part in a football match at Bolivia’s
largest stadium, the Hernando Siles.

Notwithstanding President Morales’ claim that footie is an important source of “South American unity,” FIFA didn’t just come up with this by themselves:

Peruvian and Bolivian soccer officials laid the blame for the decision
on Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

The team doctor of the Peruvian national team, Javier Arce, said
matches should also be banned at hot and humid venues in lower-lying
countries.

But Kleber Leite, vice president of the Brazilian club Flamengo, said
the ruling was “a victory for humankind”.

The Argentina Soccer Association said it believed altitude caused
“headaches, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal problems and fatigue”.

Hard to imagine that the Argentines would be trying to put on over on regional rivals. Shocking, really.

So far, I have not been able to substantiate rumors that “someone” has lodged a request with FIFA to ban games in any country that can’t capture and hold small islands populated mostly by sheep and penguins, or which fields players with names that end in “inho.”

Can’t these countries focus on what unites them?

BBC NEWS | Americas | Protests over soccer altitude ban

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5 Responses

  1. Interesting. Sounds like a case of the powerful/strong {BRA, ARG, URU, FIFA} trying to assert their power and further marginalize the poorer/weaker nations that happen to play at high altitude. The results show that the altitude teams kick ass in their home qualifiers, even against the big boys, and for the big boys it is a total pain in the arse that they would much rather do without.

    I think such a ban would be bullshit. Home field advantage is a wonderful thing in sport, especially footy, and furthermore, it is great that the poorer nations with much less resources have this built in advantage. I’m sure that Che would agree…

    Look, any nation can host their home qualifier anywhere in their country that they like, and countries 1) should use their geography to maximum advantage and 2) should not be punished for the natural geography that mother nature bestowed upon them.

    Related to this, I have always thought that US Soccer does and extremely poor job with choosing sites for World Cup qualifiers. It is well know that when the US plays in Central American countries, those countries sometimes play the match in the most bumfuck places just to make the road trip as painful as possible for the gringos {flight, several hour bus ride to a remote area, etc}.

    So- why doesn’t the US do the same thing? If I were Us Soccer, I would schedule the home match against Canada in Miami, Dallas, or Phoenix, and the matches against tropical countries in the coldest place they can find at whatever time of year it is: Boston, Minneapolis, Buffalo, or some High School football stadium in Alaska.

    Instead they do stupid ass shit like schedule the US-Mexico game in Los Angeles, creating a road home game for El Tri where 80,000 of the 95,000 fans are cheering for Mexico and lobbing ziplock bags of piss at the US bench and fans.

    I suppose in the last 10 years US Soccer has become good enough vis a vis the rest of CONCACAF that they don’t need to do this, but they sure as shit should have been doing it between 1950 and 1994.

  2. OK, I ran some numbers, and it is no surprise why they are taking to the streets and protesting in Ecuador and Bolivia, other than the fact that is it discriminatory and insulting. But let’s stick to the footy:

    2006 World Cup qualification:

    Ecuador:

    Finished 3rd out of 10 with 8 wins, 4 draws, and 6 losses. Their record at home was 7 wins, 2 draws, and 0 losses, and their home results against the Big Two were 1-0 win over Brasil and a 2-0 win over Argentina. Their road record was 1 win, 2 draws, and 6 losses.

    Bolivia:

    Finished 10th out of 10 with 4 wins, 2 draws, and 12 losses. Their record at home was 4 wins, 2 draws, and 3 losses, and their home results against the Big Two were a 1-1 draw with Brasil and a 1-2 loss to Argentina. Their road record was 0 wins, 0 draws, and 9 losses.

    2002 World Cup Qualification:

    Ecuador:

    Finished 2nd out of 10 with 9 wins, 4 draws, and 5 losses. Their record at home was 6 wins, 2 draws, and 1 loss, and their home results against the Big Two were 1-0 win over Brasil and a 0-2 loss to Argentina {the last time they lost at home}. Their road record was 3 wins, 2 draws, and 4 losses.

    Bolivia:

    Finished 7th out of 10 with 4 wins, 6 draws, and 8 losses. Their record at home was 4 wins, 4 draws, and 1 losses, and their home results against the Big Two were a 3-1 win over Brasil and a 3-3 draw with Argentina. Their road record was 0 wins, 2 draws, and 7 losses.

    1998 World Cup Qualification {Brasil did not have to qualify as they were the holders}:

    Ecuador:

    Finished 7th out of 9 with 6 wins, 3 draws, and 7 losses. Their record at home was 6 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss, and their home results against the Big Two was a 1-0 win over Argentina. Their road record was 0 wins, 2 draws, and 6 losses.

    Bolivia:

    Finished 8th out of 9 with 4 wins, 5 draws, and 7 losses. Their record at home was 4 wins, 4 draws, and 0 losses, and their home result against the Big Two was a 2-1 win over Argentina. Their road record was 0 wins, 1 draw, and 7 losses.

    I stopped there because in 1994 they were broken into 2 groups of 5 and it wasn’t true round robin.

    Totals over the last 3 World Cup Qualifying campaigns:

    Ecuador:
    Home: 19 wins, 5 draws, 2 losses
    Road: 4 wins, 6 draws, 16 losses
    Home record against Big 2: 4 wins, 1 loss

    Bolivia:
    Home: 12 wins, 10 draws, 4 losses
    Road: 0 wins, 3 draws, 23 losses
    Home record against Big 2: 2 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss

    I didn’t take the time to filter out the matched where these two played each other, but you get the idea. The numbers are pretty damn amazing.

    So yeah, I would be protesting too.

  3. Not that you’re agitated about this or anything.

    So basically, a home and home between Bolivia and Argentina is a wash. What a load of crap on the part of the “big” nations, to try and gain a little edge in competitions by avoiding tough games. Punks.

  4. Brazil shouldn’t get a pass on this either. So much for the beautiful game aye fellas? Didn’t know you can’t play that in high altitudes. Oh wait, where was the 1970 WC held again?

    For that matter, 1986 WC was held in high altitudes too.

    With the two WC’s that were held in high altitudes were won by Brazil and Argentina, so much for that huh?

    (I know I know, they were extra careful not to include Mexico, but my point still stands).

  5. […] DC offices) the Organization of American States has issued a resolution calling on FIFA to back off their ban on high altitude matches: The Organisation of American States (OAS) called on FIFA on Tuesday to reconsider its decision to […]

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