U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey dribbles the ball during a World Cup qualifier… (Dustin Bradford / Getty…)
MEXICO CITY -- FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, on Tuesday denied a protest from the Costa Rican Football Assn. which challenged the results of last Friday's World Cup qualifier against the U.S. in suburban Denver.
The game, won by the U.S. 1-0, was played in a blizzard that covered boundary lines on the field and made it difficult for players to pass, run or even see. But in dismissing the challenge, FIFA did not address the conditions, basing its ruling instead on a technicality.
FIFA posted the response on its website Tuesday:
"FIFA received a letter via email and fax from the Costa Rica FA on 24 March 2013 with regards to the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier played on 22 March between USA and Costa Rica.
"FIFA has examined the content of the letter and, taking into consideration article 14, paragraph 4 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup regulations, has confirmed that the conditions established in the regulations for an official protest have not been met by the Costa Rica FA.
"Therefore, the result of the match played on 22 March stands and is considered as valid."
The statement refers to a clause in FIFA's 2014 World Cup regulations under which Costa Rica could have complained about the conditions to match referee Joel Aguilar of El Salvador, in writing, before the game. Then afterward, under the rules, Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruiz should have lodged a protest with the referee immediately, with the captain of the opposing team -- in this case U.S. forward Clint Dempsey -- present.
Dempsey, whose goal in the 16th minute won the game, said Monday that never happened.
And finally, FIFA said official protests must be filed, in writing, within two hours of the conclusion of a match. Costa Rica's challenge wasn't received until Sunday, two days after the game. The fact that FIFA did not take the protest seriously is underscored by the speed of the response. FIFA can take months to respond to official inquiries and U.S. officials were saying Monday they were being told to expect to process to drag on. Instead, it took less than 48 hours.
The U.S. continues World Cup qualifying Tuesday against Mexico in Mexico City and news was being made on that front Tuesday as well when the Americans announced they have called up Michael Orozco Fiscal to replace the injured Jermaine Jones on the roster.
Fiscal, who plays for Puebla in the Mexican League, has five international caps for the U.S., the most memorable coming here last August when his goal beat Mexico, 1-0. The victory is the only U.S. win ever against Mexico in its home country.
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