As you might have read over the weekend, FIFA has decided to ban high-altitude venues of 8,200 feet or more after years of complaints from low-landers. That means no international matches in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, in the Mexican city of Toluca, Bogota and Quito, among others. I understand the decision, although I don't necessarily agree with it.
While Blatter is at it, should he eliminate places such as Mazatenango, the sweltering Guatemalan town where the U.S. had to play a World Cup qualifier a few years ago? Should the USSF be forbidden from scheduling Columbus in February when the Mexicans come calling? Yes, heat and cold affect the body much differently (and apparently less severely) than altitude, but we're talking about competitive advantage here. It is obviously a touchy subject that impacts Latin countries more than others. As you will read from this story, the Bolivians are not happy.
Great quote from Bolivian President Evo Morales: "He who wins at altitude, wins with dignity. He who fears altitude has no dignity."
I am hoping to speak to local Bolivian expert Jaime Moreno about the issue today. I'm also planning to swing by the White House this afternoon for the Houston Dynamo's audience with the Prez. It is a photo opportunity only, so the reporters/bloggers will have to wait outside to get player and coach reaction (sigh).
Until I return, how do you feel about the altitude decision?
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