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FIFA Dismisses Costa Rica’s Protest Over Snowy Loss to U.S.

International soccer’s governing body dismissed a protest filed by Costa Rican officials after their national team lost 1-0 to the U.S. in World Cup qualifying on a snow-covered Colorado field last week.

FIFA, soccer’s governing body, announced today on its website that Costa Rica’s protest wasn’t filed properly and the game’s result would stand. Costa Rica’s soccer federation said after the March 22 contest that the weather jeopardized the integrity of the game.

The group said today in a statement that it asking FIFA to reconsider its decision. Conditions at the stadium prevented Costa Rican soccer officials from filing the protest within the two-hour timeframe expected by FIFA, according to the statement.

“We reviewed as best we could and compiled all the formal documentation, images and videos possible and this took time,” Jorge Hidalgo, the Costa Rican federation’s executive committee vice president, said in the statement, translated from Spanish.

U.S. captain Clint Dempsey scored the only goal 16 minutes into the first half at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. Snow fell steadily throughout the game, with groundskeepers shoveling the lines on the field during breaks in the play. A yellow ball was used for visibility.

Today’s statement cited a clause in the 2014 FIFA World Cup regulations manual that says protests regarding the state of the field must be made “in writing to the referee before the start of the match.” If the field becomes unplayable during the game, the captain of the protesting team must immediately complain to the referee in the presence of the opposing captain, according to the rulebook.

E-Mail Protest

Following either of those protests, the complaint then needs to be confirmed in writing to FIFA “no later than two hours after the match,” according to the regulations. Costa Rican soccer officials failed to follow these rules, lodging their protest in an e-mail and fax two days after the game, FIFA said.

The U.S., No. 33 in FIFA’s global rankings, is second in its World Cup qualifying group with three points through two games. Costa Rica, ranked No. 53, is last in the six-team group with one point.

The U.S. plays Mexico tonight at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, where the home team is 68-1-6 in World Cup qualifying.

-- With assistance from Bill Faries in Miami. Editors: Michael Sillup, Larry Siddons.

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