Bogota, Colombia:Colombia may boycott the 2010 World Cup qualifiers unless FIFA reverses its decision to ban international matches at high altitude, the government's top sports authority said on Friday.
Everth Bustamente, director of the Coldeportes sports institute, said the government also discussed the idea of a boycott with Peru and Ecuador, which are also be affected by FIFA's decision to prohibit games from being played at altitudes above 2,500 meter (8,200 feet).
"We've discussed together the possibility of withdrawing from the World Cup qualifiers in the extreme case that FIFA doesn't review this clearly antidemocratic measure," Bustamente said on Friday.
Colombia's government had been trying to bring its struggling national team back to Bogota, 2,650 meters (8,700 feet) above sea level, as part of a bid to win its first berth in the World Cup since 1998.
For a boycott to take place, it would likely need the consent of Colombia's privately run soccer federation. Luis Bedoya, president of the federation, rejected out of hand this week the possibility of withdrawing from the World Cup or this month's Copa America in Venezuela.
Still, as owner of the country's stadiums, the government could prevent their use by the national team.
The FIFA has in the past suspended national federations in retaliation for government intervention in the sport.