FIFA Suspends Altitude Ban!

After a year of maneuvering, FIFA has lifted its altitude ban. Last year, FIFA insisted that its ban on matches at over 2500 meters was to protect the health and well-being of players. This announcement led to uproar throughout South America. Shortly thereafter, the ban was altered to include only World Cup qualifying matches above 2750 meters. Somehow the powers-that-be thought the outcry would be less since this restriction only affected Ecuador and Bolivia.

When there wasn’t an abrupt decrease in complaints, FIFA scrambled for a solution. At the beginning of the year, they thought they’d found one. They instituted adaptation periods of varying lengths prior to matches played at different altitudes. However, even this “concession” has lead to arguments.

The seemingly arbitrary choice of specific heights, and even altitude itself, was at the heart of the controversy. The first problem with targeting altitude is that it basically singled out South America. Of course, then there was the question of 2500 meters. Why not 2000? Or 1500? If they were truly concerned about altitude affecting players, then any distance above sea level that could contribute to altitude sickness should have been included in the ban. That wasn’t the case, and as such, the affected nations felt as if they were being ufabet เว็บตรงทางเข้า excluded from “the club”.

It was a childish decision that lead to even more childish squabbles. As soon as the altitude ruling was released, there were arguments against playing in extremely hot environments and even very cold environments. Nations that would have been affected by that lashed back at the South Americans with “pitch condition”. The retort to that dealt with pollution. If FIFA actually took all these complaints and banned competition at all the sites affected by them, would there be anywhere left to play world class football?

The fact of the matter is that no matter where athletic competitions occur, the home team always has an advantage. They know their own pitch, they’ve played in all sorts of conditions there, and the list could go on and on. While there are health concerns with playing football at high altitude, these concerns should be dealt with by the clubs themselves. If they feel their players need to acclimate, then the clubs should be sure they have time to do so. It’s simple. And what is even simpler is this: no nation or team should be singled out because of the conditions of where they play. If FIFA wants to regulate playing conditions, then they need to regulate all of them rather than pointing fingers individual problems.

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