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World Cup Qualifying

FIFA dismisses Costa Rica protest of snow-covered qualifier

Dick's Sporting Goods Park

By DAN KARELL

On Tuesday morning, FIFA released a statement on the official protest lodged by the Costa Rica football association, following the 1-0 win by the United States during a match played in blizzard-like conditions in Denver, Colorado.

In their statement, FIFA wrote “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.”

The news likely isn’t a surprise to most fans, considering that Costa Rica played the full 90, and likely wouldn’t have lodged any kind of protest had they ended up with a tie or a win against the U.S. However, what the news does mean is that Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad stays in second place in the Hexagonal, with three points from two games.

What do you make of the news?

Share your thoughts below.

58 comments
  • Raymon

    This is indeed newsworthy, cause FIFA followed their own rules, AND did not rule against the US.

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      • NC Jeff

        You realize that this IS the very same FIFA that “decided” to rotate WC sites around the federations starting with 2002. 2002 to AFC, 2006 to UEFA, 2010 to CAF, 2014 to CONMEBOL, and then 2018 to CONCACAF, right??? Nope, that plan got scrapped BEFORE the rotation was complete. But, CONCACAF got awarded 2018 or at least 2022 anyway, right? Well, 5 years ago, how many of the world’s populations even knew the world had a country named Qatar?

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  • Chris H

    Truly shocking news…

    …that FIFA actually got around to ruling on this so quickly

    The expected result, nothing really to see here.

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  • Oranje Mike

    Costa Rica only objected because of the result. Two squads played in the same conditions.

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      • Chupacabra

        No. Because we are men of honor, who eat raw beef from molten iron swords and revel in grief because it only makes us stronger, unlike those sniveling Costa Ricans with their fruity drinks, short pants, and names that sound like characters from fables told by children suckling on their mammies’ sagging bresticles. We deal while others squeal.

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      • Riggity

        Important to note that not all costa rican mothers have sagging bresticles…

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  • Nick

    That picture does make it look like a Winter Classic game in the NHL though. However, the USMNT needs to go down there and rock Costa Rica.

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  • fischy

    The conditions were absurd. CONCACAF and FIFA should look into that aspect to lay out more useful guidelines. Costa Rica, though, should have protested from the outset. The question is why they didn’t — was it ignorance or were they going to see how it played out, perhaps in hopes that neither team would be able to produce a goal, or perhaps even hoping their speed advantage might force the USA defense into a costly slip?

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    • Jake

      Yes, I think Costa Rica knew it leveled the field and probably removed much of the US home field advantage. More like a flip of a coin… And they lost.

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    • ChiTown

      The layout is fine.

      It is specifically designed so that teams cannot do what Costa Rica just tried to do. They gambled that they could sneak a point in the bad weather with the back up plan of filing a protest.

      FIFA’s protocols prevent that be saying you must start the official protest during the match with both captains.

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      • fischy

        That’s not what I was referring to. I’m talking about better guidelines as to when to postpone. Things were not ideal, of course, but was it worse than a driving rainstorm? I don’t know. Perhaps, there are better guidelines — ball color, snow removal, etc. — things that could be done to make it more playable. Or, perhaps there could be more definite rules on whether or not the game should even have begun.

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    • RK

      If I were CR, I would’ve protested too. The conditions were absurd.

      And to those that say CR only complained because they lost…of course! They wouldn’t have had they come away with a point, obviously.

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    • CplDaniel

      Haven’t you seen videos of matches where the ball gets washed away on set pieces? If they can play in floods, mud, tall grass, no grass, dirt fields, freezing cold, high-wind, sun right in the eye of one team, then they can play in a blizzard!

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    • Lost in Space

      CR gambled on the game….Play the US @ home in bad weather when they have a diminished defense (No Howard, Dolo, Chandler, Johnson) or protest from the get go and potentially face a full strength squad at a later date. The went to sneek points and failed…the protest after the game was to try and save face….nothing more.

      Like

  • Travis in Miami

    If Costa Rica had followed the protocol…this probably would have ended differently.

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    • SoB

      So we should definitely follow protocol and dispute playing on their terrible plastic pitch before we even get to Costa Rica . . .

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    • Hogatroge

      Unlikely. They still played the entire match at the discretion of both the referee and the FIFA match official.

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  • Big Chil

    After carefully weighing the package received from the Costa Rican FA, it was determined that there were likely no bars of gold inside, therefore, going to article 4, paragraph 4, the FIFA chairman carefully opened the package, being careful not to tear any paper money or checks inside. By said article, the amount, er, “conditions” established in the regulations for an official protest were not met, and the result stands.

    Like

  • KP1935

    “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.”

    What does Article 14, paragraph 4 say?

    My guess is the CR captain failed to alert the official and match supervisor in the presence of Dempsey within the allotted time following the game. And because of that the request is denied, had they followed procedures, it would have been interesting to see what FIFA would have done.

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    • Samurai

      It would mean that FIFA would’ve potentially allowed Costa Rica to have a replay.

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      • Kosh

        Or it could also mean that procedurally there was no justification to pursue investigation of the protest – which could have also resulted in no replay.

        Just because it was a procedural techinality does not make the US guilty.

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    • ChiTown

      I imagine even if they had followed the correct procedure (and actually had a problem with the game, which as we saw they didn’t beyond the fact that they lost), FIFA would be very weary of forcing a replay given how limited FIFA match dates are and the importance of this match.

      Like

      • Samurai

        I believe the match would’ve taken place within a few days later or whenever conditions for the match were appropriate. Either way, Costaa Rica didn’t follow the correct procedures.

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      • Joe+G

        Assuming they ruled in CR’s favor, there would be no time to complete a replay, even of 30 minutes, during this window. Perhaps it would have waited until the end of the Hex window and only be replayed if it had an impact on the standings.

        If FIFA had been available on the weekend to decide, then yes, Saturday or Sunday would have been options (but logistics may not have allowed). The practical matter is that there aren’t many opportunities to replay a game quickly if you don’t have an immediate decision.

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    • nirwin

      Article 14, paragraph 4 is indeed about filing an official protest during the game in the presence of the match official and the opposing captain, and then having to submit a written protest after the game.

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  • Seriously?

    The fact that they wouldn’t have protested had they won is hardly anything to criticize, I wish people would stop mentioning that. For any team anywhere, if there was a total misapplication of the rules which led to a completely legitimate reason for a protest, and the captain had correctly stated they wanted to protest the result in the match, if that team were to go on to win the match, of course they wouldn’t bother to go through with the protest, that would be silly. The problem is, Costa Rica didn’t want to stop playing because they thought they would get a result, and actually appeared to plead to keep playing when the ref was thinking of stopping, then after the game tried to claim they didn’t want to play. That is what is ridiculous.

    The optimist in me would like to think that the protest was thrown out purely for the technical reasons they gave, but the cynic in me has to wonder if their lazy asses just didn’t want to deal with any extra hassle. I don’t say that to imply that CR was right, but more to say that if we ever had a legitimate reason to protest, and did everything correctly, I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to do the right thing. At least Jack Warner is gone, who knows what would happen if he were around.

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    • nirwin

      Well, there is at least precedent for them doing the right thing in a similar situation: see the Uzbekistan-Bahrain match from several years ago.

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      • Seriously?

        Oh, I’m well aware of that, but I unfortunately there is also a lot of precedent for them to do the wrong thing. As I said, it’s just the cynical point of view, I would certainly hope they always do things for the right reasons, or at least they will do so in the future.

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  • Dennis

    As far as I can see even if Costa Rica followed the rules for filing a protest, FIFA rules are that the referee is the judge of what is or is not playable conditions and has the sole authority to continue or suspend the game. (My understanding of the rules is that if the referee suspends the game due to unsafe or unplayable conditions, then FIFA must rule on if there was a winner or if a replay must take place.) I am pretty sure that once the game starts the referee is the sole judge of conditions (a fact) and FIFA seldom (never) overrules a referee’s decision on the facts. So nothing surprising here.

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  • ed - houston

    Protests work in a similar manner for youth levels as well. CR should have know from the get go it was a frivilous petition/protest.

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  • OBRick

    The passing/ball control was actually better then I have seen in some games in the rain with big puddles and no one talked about canceling those games.

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  • John

    Being at the match ( with the American Outlaws ) I can tell you it was a crazy night! One for the history books. For Costa Rica to complain after some of their own footballers wanted to continue at the stoppage, got their way and completed the match is just…well…pansy. I don’t think the MNT plays every other day in 6″ of snow.

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  • The Imperative Voice

    My two cents, CR’s big mistake is showing up for a game on a snow day — and the forecasts were pretty obvious, snow on the ground pre-game — seemingly not knowing how to protest field conditions. The rules set it out pretty clearly. If it starts out bad, you say something in writing before the game; if it turns bad, you protest in front of the other team captain during the game. There are also other steps. But surely even if they wanted to keep the coaches and team focused there was some CR executive functionary there on an expense junket who could have put down his wine and cheese for a few minutes, found the rules PDF and set up a game plan, then gone back to schmoozing.

    There might have been some gamesmanship but the irony is that there need not have been. The whole point to an in-game protest is the ref has decided against you already, so you just say I Protest and you finish the game anyway. You can still play the “maybe we steal a goal or two and render this academic” game having made the protest because the game is likely going to finish.

    People are like well I don’t trust FIFA on this, well, I don’t know if I trust the game commissioner Grenada bigwig coming down middle of the second half trying to shut it down, either. Do a little googling.

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  • Seriously?

    To follow up on something I said above, while a cynic might wonder if FIFA made this decision more because it was easier than setting up a replay, I think even the most skeptical cynic would have to admit that, with the ominous specter of match fixing hanging over the sport, FIFA would certainly take serious any protest where it seemed a ref made a strange decision our something, that could possibly seem like it was more than just mere incompetence. And no, that would not apply here, as CR would have a hard time trying to argue the ref kept the game going to benefit the US, if the CR players and coach were so against stopping the match when it seemed the ref might do that.

    Like

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