FIFA execs reach heights of indecision

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.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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