Dabbling in an arena in which it has no expertise, FIFA’s Executive Committee again has tweaked a baffling decision it took in May to ban FIFA-sanctioned matches at high altitudes. The new altitude limit, established by the committee at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, is 2,750m (9,022 ft). Sepp Blatter emphasizes that matches would be permitted when players have had time to acclimatize, but does not specify an acclimatization period.
Also, it remains unclear whether Blatter’s earlier sidebar agreement with Bolivia’s president Evo Morales (see Jul 6) to allow World Cup qualifying matches in La Paz, which sits well above the new altitude limit, would remain in force. Morales thinks that FIFA has backtracked and expressed his “surprise”—following another publicity-generating high-altitude kickabout—at the committee’s action. “It’s not right that they don’t understand the situation of Potosí, Oruro or La Paz,” Morales said.
See Jun 15 for additional coverage.