Costa Rica plans to protest with FIFA
According to a report from Reuters, the Costa Rica soccer federation plans to file an official protest with FIFA following their 1-0 World Cup qualifying loss against the United States during an extreme snowstorm on Friday night.
Plows and shovels were used to clear the penalty areas, center circle and midfield stripe as snow got heavier, and a yellow-and-purple ball was used. Ten minutes into the second half, Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto wanted referee Joel Aguilar of El Salvador and match commissioner Victor Daniel of Grenada to suspend the game.
”I asked them to stop. They should suspend the ref,” he said. ”It was an embarrassment. It was an insult to Costa Rica and people coming in here.”
Pinto expressed his concerns whether “legal conditions” were met before the match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, home of Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids. Costa Rican FA vice president, Jorge Hidalgo, assured his side’s plans to submit a written protest.
"You can’t play in that," Hildago told Sports Illustrated after the match. "In these conditions, the referee has to suspend the game. For sure there is going to be a protest [to FIFA]. We hope this referee is going to be suspended for a month at least. Today another game was suspended in Europe [Northern Ireland-Russia] in less conditions than this one."
Costa Rica’s team seemed to have a harder time dealing with the winter wonderland. The Central American nation have 24 hours to file a written protest with FIFA.
“Honestly, it was robbery, a disgrace, I’ve never played a game in these conditions," midfielder Christian Bolanos said after the match. "You couldn’t see the ball … if we had played without snow, we would have won, I am sure."
Forward Alvaro Saborio, who plays for Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, agreed.
"We couldn’t play in those conditions, they should have stopped the game in the first half," he said.
United States Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati believed the referee made the right decision.
"Frankly, (stopping) would not have been to the advantage of either of the two teams, since they both play on Tuesday," Gulati told reporters on Friday night. "Obviously you worry about the safety of players and being able to see the ball. The referee and the match commissioner made the decision that the game could continue and I think it was the right decision."
Gulati added that the decision to play in Denver was mainly due to spend a week at altitude before USA’s match at Mexico City on Tuesday and not a desire to place Central American opponents in frosty conditions.
"If the thought is that we want to play Costa Rica in a situation where it could snow, then there are some places that maybe could have been better, like Boston or somewhere.”
But there is not much of chance the protest goes far, as the final decision was in the hands of referee Aguilar and match commissioner Daniel, who allowed play to continue and the match to be finished.
The Associated Press was used in this report.