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FIFA looking into Costa Rica’s protest of snow-covered World Cup qualifier vs. USMNT (UPDATED)

Clint Dempsey


The Costa Rican Soccer Federation’s protesting of last Friday’s World Cup qualifying loss to the United States on the grounds of the field at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park being unplayable due to the heavy snow that fell that night is being looked into by FIFA.

Costa Rica complained that the “physical integrity” of players and officials  had been affected and that “ball movement became impossible”. Costa Rica also complained about the visibility of field markings. The protest also pointed out that a recent match between Northern Ireland and Russia in Belfast was postponed due to snow.

”FIFA will now analyze the content of the letter and next steps will be determined in due course,” FIFA said in a statement issued on Monday.

It remains unclear whether Costa Rica’s protest even meets the specific requirements laid out by FIFA for a protest to be official. Among the requirements are a protest being filed immediately by the team’s captain to the referee after the match in the presence of the opposing team’s captain. Costa Rica would also have had to file a written protest with the CONCACAF match coordinator within two hours of the end of the match, as well as to FIFA within 24 hours.

(UPDATED- In Monday’s press conference in Mexico City, U.S. captain Clint Dempsey said that no protest was made by Costa Rica’s captain during the match.)

Initial thoughts on Costa Rica’s protest: by all accounts there it sounds highly unlikely they met all the requirements for a protest, starting with their team captain needing to protest to the referee during the match in the presence of the U.S. captain (Clint Dempsey).  Now that Dempsey has revealed that no such protest was filed, it seems extremely unlikely FIFA would seriously consider replaying the game.

As much as FIFA can be questioned about a lot of things I doubt very highly FIFA would erase last Friday’s result and order a replay given the likely incomplete nature of Costa Rica’s protest.

What do you think of this development? Worried the game will have to be replayed? Think Costa Rica’s protest has any merit?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I don’t know why they would want a replay it’d be months from now when we are at full strength + Donovan, and the game will be played in Breckenridge at 9600 feet.

  2. If Costa Rica truly wanted to protest this game they had ample opportunity to do so during halftime. There is no mention that Costa Rica complained about field conditions at this time. Also the Costa Rican Federation did not file their written complaint to FIFA until 24 hrs after the end of the game. My understanding is that they have to file a formal written complaint within 24 hours of the end of the game. So they have failed to comply on two complaints one with the captains in the presence of the ref and the formal written complaint to FIFA within 24 hours of the game. If this is replayed then everyone around the world has a valid complaint against playing at high altitude and/or playing in excessive heat and humidity.


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