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CONMEBOL Meets to Discuss FIFA Altitude Regs


South American football (soccer) officials have called an urgent meeting next week in Chile to discuss the International Football Federation's recent policy on matches played at high altitude.

The South American Federation's (CONMEBOL's) executive committee will meet Tuesday in Santiago to study the new regulations, which were handed down at the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in December.

FIFA said that teams should be allowed at least three days of acclimatization before playing games more than 2,500 meters above sea level. Players would be given a week for games higher than 2,750 meters above sea level and a minimum of two weeks for games 3,000 meters or higher.

Bolivia has protested the new policy because its capital city of La Paz is more than 3,600 meters above sea level. Earlier this week, Bolivian President Evo Morales said the policy was - in his words - a death sentence for the universality of football. CONMEBOL executive secretary Francisco Figueredo said debate is expected to focus on whether it makes sense to play matches at high altitude if the new regulations are enforced.

Critics say that to allow the adaptation periods would be impractical, especially in the case of World Cup qualifiers, when teams play several matches within days of one another.

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

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