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Bolivia to fight against altitude ban

La Paz: Bolivia will take its case against FIFA’s ban on international games at altitude to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, the country’s chief soccer official has said.

“We have determined ... to fight for our rights,” Bolivian federation president Carlos Chavez said in announcing it will formally file its appeal next week.

Ratified earlier this month, FIFA requires players to acclimatise for at least a week before international games above 2,750 metres, and two weeks for matches higher than 3,000 metres.

With matches — especially World Cup qualifying games — often scheduled within days of one another and fitted within league fixtures, the rule virtually bans games at those altitudes. FIFA said it was concerned about negative health effects on players unaccustomed to thin air. At 3,640 metres elevation, the Bolivian capital of La Paz is affected by the rule.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has lobbied hard against the ban and recently announced that the country was preparing a lawsuit against FIFA, although without giving details or saying before which authority it would be filed.

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