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FIFA Imposes Altitude Ban - Again

Football's world governing body says it will not allow international matches at high altitude unless players are given time to get used to the conditions.

FIFA's Executive Committee, meeting in Tokyo Saturday, said no competitions will be allowed above 2,750 meters unless players are given the necessary time to adjust.

Because the new policy will affect World Cup qualifying matches, the world governing body is still working out details of how much time will be required for players to acclimatize.

In May, FIFA banned all games higher than 2,500 meters above sea level because of health concerns for visiting players. The governing body also was concerned that the altitude might give home teams an unfair advantage.

FIFA raised the level to three thousand meters in June when several South American nations protested. The Bolivian city of La Paz - at 3,600 meters above sea level - was given a special exemption after meetings with the country's president.

Also Saturday, FIFA also expressed concern about the midday start times for the Olympic football tournament next year in Beijing. Temperatures at midday in the Chinese capital can reach 40 degrees (Celsius) and that could cause problems for players.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.