FIFA rejects Costa Rica protest
ZURICH -- FIFA has dismissed Costa Rica's protest against losing 1-0 to the United States in a World Cup qualifying match played in a snowstorm because team captain Bryan Ruiz did not complain to the referee during the match.
FIFA says the Costa Rican football association failed to meet the requirements of filing a valid protest of Friday's match in Commerce City, Colo.
In a statement published Tuesday, FIFA refers to a clause in its 2014 World Cup regulations.
It states that when a field becomes unplayable during a match, the protesting team's captain "shall immediately lodge a protest with the referee in the presence of the captain of the opposing team."
FIFA says "therefore, the result of the match played on March 22 stands and is considered as valid."
The Costa Rican federation said Sunday that the "physical integrity" of players and officials was affected, "ball movement became impossible" and field markings were not visible in Friday's match.
Costa Rica soccer federation president Eduardo Li Sanchez said Monday the team sent additional data to FIFA.
"Before the game started we said the conditions were not right for playing, but we had to play because the commissioner and the referee said the conditions were OK to play, so we had to go out," Li told ESPN's Raza Deportiva. "At halftime, we again made a plea. The commissioner went down with us to the pitch to speak with the referee. The game was stopped and we were taken to a crisis room. When we got there, the referee started the match again. Is that fair play?"
U.S. captain Clint Dempsey scored in the 16th minute to lift his team to second place in the six-team CONCACAF region qualifying group after two matches. Costa Rica is last.
The top three teams qualify directly for the tournament in Brazil, and the fourth-place team faces New Zealand in a playoff.
During Friday's game, 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.
Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto urged the referee to suspend the game, but U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann made a case for playing on because both teams faced the same conditions.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.