Thursday, June 07, 2007


A fairly tenuous link to sustainability here. But how's this: sustainable communities are happy ones and in South America football and happiness walk hand in hand.

So when the exceptionally rational folk around the FIFA board table decided football at altitude is unhealthy, Andean happiness was at stake. Bolivia's populist President Morales has vowed to fight the FIFA ban that's been slapped on cities higher than 2,500m.

As the table below shows, Bolivia and Ecuador are hardest hit. Contractors in Cochabamba are laughing though - they've hit up the council to dig a 59m hole in the square. Which will make quite a handy distraction from the annoying coca barricades.

Back in the day I attempted playing football in San Juan on the Bolivian altiplano. At 4,000 odd metres it was tough. But that was probably because I've no talent and the locals had been acclimatising for a few years.

Ellis Park in Johannesburg sits at 1,750m. It's not a favourite for the All Blacks and I'm sure that the win loss record for South African rugby teams there is better than at their other stadiums. But 1,750m is a big difference from 2,500m. Maybe Blatter has a point.

Morales has a point too. His is stronger and FIFA IS being discriminatory. What's more you can't send every international played in Bolivia to Santa Cruz. They don't even have real seats in their taxi's.

Seriously, FIFA, please! Get real.

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