Amigos de Sucre

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Posts Tagged ‘Sport’

High-level Soccer

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

It may not affect many stadiums in Europe, but the FIFAs ban on international soccer (football) games above 2,750 meters is something that could seriously affect Boliva’s football team.

If you think of such heights above sea level in Europe, then you think about mountains – the Alps in particular. The Schilthorn, for example, is at 2,970m above sea level (that’s the one with the restaurant on it in the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”!)

At this altitude, the air becomes thinner and so the body has to adjust so that the lungs can absorb the oxygen better. No mean feat for a visitor, but image playing football at that hight – or even higher, La Paz being another 1000m on top of that.

So FIFA, the world body governing football, has banned matches played at such levels without acclimatisation. But how long do you need to acclimatise? I think I needed about a week when I was in Sucre and another few days again when we climbed up to the Potosí/La Paz heights.

On the one hand, that makes it a bit unfair on lower-lying countries in South America when they send their players there.

But on the other hand, why should Bolivia suffer for it’s altitude and have to play it’s international fixtures elsewhere?


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