Andean nations stand firm against FIFA altitude football ban

FIFA’s decision to ban international football games in high altitude stadiums is causing outrage in the Andean zone.

Peruvian football officials have suggested that if the ruling to bar venues located above 2,500m comes into effect, stadiums in regions prone to high temperature (such as Sao Paolo) and humidity (such as Buenos Aires) should also be struck off the list, as these conditions can also provoke health concerns for the players.

The official decision will be made in Paraguay on June 15th, and Andean nations are forming a concerted front to oppose the measure.

Peru hoped to play qualifying rounds in Cuzco (3,400m), while the capitals of the other Andean region nations of Ecuador (Quito, 2,800m), Colombia (Bogota, 2,650m) and Bolivia (La Paz, 3,600m) would also be ruled out by the measure, which violates the tradition that each country has the right to choose a local venue and play “at home”.

All four countries plan to boycott Venezuela’s Copa America to put pressure on the country, which is seen as having the deciding vote at the Paraguay conference.

Pele has made statements welcoming the measure, as many Brazilians consider high altitude games a form of cheating in the wake of a string of losses – such as their 1-0 loss to Ecuador in a qualifying game for last year’s World Cup. That match was played in Quito, and players complained of breathlessness due to the altitude.

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