Fifa lax on ruling

ZURICH - Fifa have relaxed a ruling they made last month and will allow international matches to be played at an altitude.

ZURICH - Fifa have relaxed a ruling they made last month and will allow international matches to be played at an altitude.

This means, contrary to earlier objections, matches will be played at altitudes of up to 3 000 metres above sea level rather than 2 500 metres.

"There has been a huge political discussion around this decision, although it was taken solely to protect the players," Fifa president Sepp Blatter told a news conference following an executive committee meeting yesterday.

"We have spoken again to our medical commission who told us there is a margin concerning the medical issues and that with a specific tolerance limit we could go up to under 3 000 metres."

Fifa's original decision to prevent internationals being played at 2 500 metres sea level and above led to widespread protests in several South American countries including Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

The South American football confederation, which has three members on the Fifa executive, disagreed with the ban following its own meeting earlier this month. The new ruling will still prevent matches from taking place in La Paz, which is 3 600 metres above sea level. - Reuters

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