Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Unnatural High

FIFA, the fools that run international football, have announced that they are to ban international matches at altitudes higher than 2,500m, which will mainly affect Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. FIFA cite health reasons because of the difficulty players unused to the thin air at high altitude have breathing but I suspect that the objections of Argentina and Brazil - two countries that are used to getting their own way in the world of football geopolitics - were of greater concern. Not to mention the fact that both tend to do poorly when playing at altitude - Brazil nearly missing out on the 2002 World Cup because of a defeat against Ecuador in Quito. FIFA had less qualms when staging two World Cup finals in the elevated Mexico City, though at 2,250m that does come just under the threshold of acceptability. I think that Mexico was too influential a customer to meddle with on that one. What will FIFA do next? Ban games in temperatures of more than 20˚to facilitate British teams, who never tire of using the heat as an excuse for their poor performances in major championships, while conveniently forgetting that the South American winters of the World Cups of 1950, 1962 and 1978 were no more favorable to them? Ban players from smaller nations tackling Ronaldinho and David Beckham?