Patrick McSharry of Oxford University, analyzing scores from 1,460 international matches played at different altitudes in South America, concludes that differences in altitude do produce advantages for the acclimatized team (“High-Altitude Football Teams Have Big Advantage over Opponents,” AFP, Dec 21).
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). (Dec 15)
Zurich, Switzerland, Jul 6 | Is it safe to play football on the Andean altiplano or the Tibetan plateau? FIFA has not decided yet, but it continues to modify its judgment, originally decreed in May, that FIFA competitions could not be staged above 2,500m. We interview, as part of our third podcast, Eduardo Ávila of Global Voices Online to learn about Bolivia’s reaction to FIFA’s decision-making process.
La Paz, Bolivia, Jun 15 | On May 27, FIFA’s executive committee announced the ban on competitive international matches 2,500m above sea level. For once united internally and with their Andean neighbors, Bolivia—the country most severely affected—is organizing. A manifesto sponsored by several Bolivian newspapers concludes, “Bolivians are a poor people, we play football with humility, but we are dignified and we have a national character such that we will defend our rights when we are not at fault.”
La Paz, Bolivia, May 4 | Periodically, unrest grips Bolivia as the marginalized and oppressed indigenous majorities clash with ruling European-descent elites. Years of struggle have taught poor Bolivians that official channels for lodging their complaints and bringing about change are useless.