FIFA rejects Costa Rica protest of U.S. victory; Orozco Fiscal replaces injured Jones.
By Robert Wagman
(Tuesday, March 26, 2013) -- World governing body FIFA has rejected Costa Rica’s official protest of the United States men’s 1-0 CONCACAF World Cup final-round qualifying victory, played in snow Friday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
FIFA ruled that Costa Rica had not properly followed the procedure for a protest.
“The result of the match played on March 22 stands and is considered as valid," FIFA said today in a written statement.
As stated in FIFA’s 2014 World Cup Regulations, when a field becomes unplayable, the protesting team’s captain “shall immediately lodge a protest with the referee in the presence of the captain of the opposing team.”
U.S. captain Clint Dempsey told the media on Monday he never participated in such a meeting with Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruiz or the match official about the playing surface.
"That didn't happen," Dempsey said. "Just before the game, the only thing that was talked about was the flip of a coin and we won the toss and we chose to go first half against the wind."
A written protest must be given the match coordinator within two hours of the final whistle and to FIFA’s administration in Zurich by registered letter within 24 hours. FIFA said it received Costa Rica’s protest on Sunday
“Otherwise, (the protest) shall be disregarded,” the regulations state.
It was snowing at the beginning of Friday’s match and the snowfall intensified as the game proceeded. Accordingly, the field conditions worsened, particularly in the second half as big mounds of snow formed.
Salvadoran referee Joel Aguilar halted the contest briefly in the 55th minute. Stadium personnel shoveled the field’s lines during every stoppage of play throughout the match.
"Although we don't want to create false expectations, we are fighting for the rights that we consider were violated," Costa Rica Football Federation treasurer Rodolfo Villalobos told the media after filing the protest. "Removing the team from the field during the match would have meant being expelled from the World Cup in addition to an economic sanction. That's why there is this process in place."
CRFF president Jorge Hidalgo told the newspaper La Nacion that Aguilar should be suspended. "We ask(ed) for a prolonged suspension for the match referee and a replay of the match because of the conditions in which we played," he said,
Meanwhile, the U.S. called in defender Michael Orozco Fiscal from Puebla of the Mexican Liga MX. He arrived in Mexico City too late to participate in any training sessions.
He replaced steady midfielder Jermaine Jones, who sprained his left ankle Friday against Costa Rica
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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