Tuesday, March 26, 2013

FIFA Rejects Costa Rica Soccer Protest

Soccer’s world governing body denied Costa Rica’s request to replay a World Cup qualifier that was recently held in the middle of a snowstorm.

“FIFA has examined the content of the letter and, taking into consideration article 14, paragraph 4 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup regulations, has confirmed that the conditions established in the regulations for an official protest have not been met by the Costa Rica Football Association…Therefore the result of the match played on 22 March stands and is considered as valid,” read a brief statement issued by FIFA today.

The game in question was a 1-0 victory for the U.S. against the Costa Ricans in Commerce City, Colorado.  U.S. captain Clint Dempsey’s game-winning goal in the sixteenth minute occurred amidst a steady snowfall in the first half.  The second half held the match in blizzard-like conditions and referee Joel Aguilar of El Salvador briefly paused the game though it was continued after he talked to players on both teams.

After the match Costa Rican players, coaches and even President Laura Chinchilla criticized that the qualifier was not suspended.  Subsequently, the Central American country’s soccer federation lodged a protest claiming that the weather conditions hampered match seeking for the qualifier to be replayed and called on match officials including Aguilar to be punished.

Numerous strict conditions must be for a post-match protest to succeed.  For instance, Costa Rican team captain Bryan Ruiz was supposed to “immediately lodge a protest with the referee in the presence of the captain of the opposing team” if the field was unplayable.  But Dempsey reportedly told the press on Monday that Ruiz never protested during the match.

Though the Costa Rican FA’s protest failed, some fans of Los Ticos dissatisfied with last Friday’s game are planning their own unique demonstration before their team’s vital match at home tonight:

“If FIFA’s so –called ‘Fair Play” policies turn their back on Costa Rica then we should turn our backs on ‘Fair Play’”.
With this motto a group of fans launched a campaign via social networking websites urging ticos to turn around when the Fair Play anthem is played before the World Cup qualifier against Jamaica…
“All Costa Rica fans attending the March 26th match between Costa Rica and Jamaica at the Estadio Nacional should unite and turn our backs in protest during the playing of the Fair Play anthem,” states an image being circulated on Facebook and Twitter.
The U.S., which faces a tough test playing away against traditional rivals Mexico, currently sits in second place in their regional qualifying group while Costa Rica is in last.

After tonight each country in the six-team CONCACAF final group will have played three matches.  At the end of ten matches, the first three teams in the group will qualify directly to the World Cup that will be held next year in Brazil.  The fourth place side will play off against Oceania group winners New Zealand for a World Cup spot.  

In South America, meanwhile, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador are close to securing World Cup spots while Uruguay, Chile, Venezuela and Peru are battling for the remaining 1.5 berths.

Video Source– YouTube via U.S. Soccer

Online Sources – VOXXI; CNN; La Nación (Costa Rica); FIFA; Tico Times; Soccer by Ives


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