After the United States defeated Costa Rica 1-0 amidst a Colorado snowstorm on Friday evening, the Costa Rican football association filed an official complaint with FIFA, protesting the result.
On Tuesday morning, FIFA responded to Costa Rica's protestations and dismissed the complaint:
FIFA received a letter via email and fax from the Costa Rica FA on 24 March 2013 with regards to the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier played on 22 March between USA and Costa Rica.
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 FA.
Therefore, the result of the match played on 22 March stands and is considered as valid.
It's difficult to sympathize with Costa Rica on this matter. Both teams were forced to endure the same conditions, and it's hard to imagine the Costa Rican FA lodging a complaint had its team won the match.
According to the Associated Press, Costa Rica's protests were as follows:
The Costa Rican federation said Sunday that the "physical integrity" of players and officials was affected, "ball movement became impossible" and field markings were not visible in Friday's match played in Commerce City, Colo.
The federation also urged FIFA to punish match officials, including referee Joel Aguilar of El Salvador, for allowing the match to proceed.
Postponing the game would have been tricky, as the international window is tight and the United States travels to Mexico City tonight to face Mexico. Continuing to play the game was the right decision.
Besides, if the United States wants to play in cold weather when it hosts its World Cup qualifiers, it has that right. It's no different than playing in the higher altitude of Mexico City or the searing heat the team faced against Honduras in February.
Sure, neither side was likely thrilled that a snowstorm broke out that evening. It wasn't ideal weather, and there's no arguing that.
But both teams faced the same weather and playing conditions, and if it happened to give the United States the advantage, so be it. This is World Cup qualifying, not a friendly. Stakes are high here, and every country in the world seeks every advantage it can find when hosting these games.
The United States chose the advantage of a chill in the air against a Central American opponent. It happened to snow.
Costa Rica has to accept that fact now and move on.
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