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FIFA Rejects Danish Protest

April 30, 2002

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ FIFA has rejected Denmark’s complaint that its national team should not have to play two of three World Cup group games in the heat of the South Korean afternoon, the Danish Soccer Association said Tuesday.

The Danes play Senegal on June 6 in a game that had initially been scheduled for 8:30 p.m. local time, but was moved by the world’s governing soccer body to 3:30 p.m. because of commercial television agreements.

The Denmark-Senegal game will be played in Daegu, South Korea, where average daytime highs in June can reach 91 degrees _ much warmer temperatures than the Danes are used to.

Denmark plays another afternoon game on June 11 against Group A favorite France, the defending champions.

Denmark’s sole evening match is against Uruguay on June 1 and the Danish Soccer Association, or DBU, complained in March about having to play two World Cup games in the afternoon ``because of commercial reasons.″

FIFA general-secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen said in a letter to the Danish group that several other World Cup contestants also play two games in the afternoon. He named South Africa, Slovenia, Russia and Sweden.

Excerpts of Zen-Ruffinen’s letter were released in Danish on Tuesday.

``The decision to change the time for the Denmark-Senegal game was made in December in agreement with the contracts of the television stations that have the transmission rights and with the different stadiums,″ Zen-Ruffinen wrote, according to the DBU.

Danish coach Morten Olsen said he was not surprised by the decision and reiterated that he believes that the timetable remained ``an unjust advantage for our three opponents.″

The Danes will be making their third appearance in the World Cup finals.

Separately, the Danish Soccer Association announced Tuesday that Denmark would play a friendly match against Poland in Copenhagen on Nov. 20, the last match of this year.

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