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Volume 6 No. 215

International Football

FIFA has confirmed that it has received a protest from Costa Rica, which was "furious at being forced to play Friday's World Cup qualifier away to the United States in a snowstorm," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. In a statement, FIFA said, "We can confirm that FIFA has received a letter from the Costa Rica FA regarding last Friday's World Cup qualifier." Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto said the match was an "embarrassment to football" after his side lost 1-0 in Denver on a snowy field with a "covering that became deeper as the game wore on." The Costa Rica FA said in a statement that there were "four parts to its protest." It said the conditions were a threat to "the physical integrity" of the players and said stadium officials had come on to the pitch to "clear the snow while the ball was in play." Additionally, the pitch markings "disappeared" and the "the movement of the ball became impossible due to the quantity of snow on the pitch." The federation also demanded sanctions for "all the officials who were involved in the decision to keep playing this game" (REUTERS, 3/25).

UEFA will not allow Russian Premier League FC Rubin Kazan to play Chelsea in its home city of Kazan in the Europa League quarterfinals, according to R-SPORT. Rubin had said that it would "appeal the decision to force the club to hold the April 11 game at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow because of a churned-up pitch in Kazan." However, UEFA said on Monday the decision was "final." Earlier Monday, Rubin Stadium Dir Pavel Nikulin insisted the club would do "everything possible and impossible" to ensure that the second leg could be held in Kazan. The pitch at the city's Central Stadium "has been replanted with more than six kilos of grass seed and passed fit by the Russian Premier League" for the club's next domestic league fixture against Lokomotiv Moscow on Saturday (R-SPORT, 3/25).

Scenes of "violence and intimidation" by fans of the A-League Western Sydney Wanderers football club have forced Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione to "bolster officer numbers at future matches," according to Mark Morri of the DAILY TELEGRAPH. Video of fans "terrorising families before Saturday night's A-League derby at Parramatta came to light" Monday. More than 100 Wanderers supporters were filmed "surrounding an outside section of a restaurant, yelling, swearing and spitting." A plate and a glass "were thrown, hitting a Sydney FC fan who was dining with friends." One of the diners who filmed the incident, an ex-policeman who wished to be identified only as "Paul," described the melee outside the Ribs and Rumps restaurant as "pretty frightening." Paul said, "The fans were aggressive, spitting and hurling abuse. I had my two daughters, nine and 11, and other family there and I was worried it could explode." The violence "was not limited to outside the stadium," with more troublemakers -- including pitch invaders -- "arrested inside during the match." Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop described the incident as the "antics of a few morons," despite the images clearly showing there were "vastly more than a few responsible for the disturbing scenes" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/26).