FIFA weighing Ticos protest
Unhappy over a 1-0 loss in a blizzard at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the Costa Rican federation has filed a formal protest over the March 22 game.
While FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, has promised to look into the matter, soccer’s overseers would do well to disregard this after-the-fact protest.
Yes, the field conditions were lousy. Yes, the weather was miserable. These are, however, the norm in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. Many U.S. opponents take pride in putting games in the worst possible locations, with the poorest possible fields. They then retreat behind the argument that both teams have to play on the same field in the same weather.
Well, what happened in Colorado on Friday was a taste of that same medicine. And while the Ticos are finding it bitter to swallow that shouldn’t be enough to sway FIFA.
This is more than a matter of two teams having to put up with difficult conditions and it’s more than a case of what is acceptable for one qualifier (hot, humid conditions on torn up fields in the middle of nowhere) should be fine for the other (cold, blowing snow storms burying a field in the Rockies). This is also a recognition that the international calendar has few open periods for qualifying matches. With limited dates, you have to be able to make some accommodations for tough weather.
In addition, when one team views it as impossible to make those concessions, FIFA has a method for filing protests. It was up to the team’s captain to make a complaint to the head official in the presence of the opposing captain. Clint Dempsey said he heard no such complaint.
Instead, the Ticos played on. Now, after not being able to secure any points on the road, the Costa Ricans are protesting. While FIFA will hear the protest, the time for action has already passed.
And the Ticos know it, but as we prove in every qualifying cycle, there is always room for gamesmanship in CONCACAF