Soccer in high places

 Media Images 44693000 Jpg  44693948 Morales Ball Afp226BI was in Quito a few weeks ago, which is almost 10,000 feet in elevation. As I was huffing up stairs I was wondering what visiting soccer players do when they play there. The highest stadium is La Paz, Bolivia (11,740ft).

Turns out FIFA (international soccer rules body) had a new rule about playing at high altitudes (greater than 9,200 feet) which required that players had to have 7 days to acclimate. This is may not be enough time, but in addition it’s a problem because club teams only have to release their players for international games 5 days before the games–so it restricted games in high cities. FIFA backed down from that, and says they will look into other factors such as humidity and heat as well. Those are certainly factors in a game, but altitude sickness can be a serious health issue, as well as a home field advantage…

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