The Costa Rican Football Federation (Fedefutbol) on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the men’s national team’s planned friendly match against Mexico.
La Sele was scheduled to face Mexico on September 30 at the venerable Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The match would have represented the return to competition for both teams in context of the coronavirus pandemic.
But Fedefutbol says the Costa Rican government didn’t approve the federation’s travel plans and that “the responsible decision” given the timeframe was to suspend the match.
“Our organization regrets the inconvenience that the suspension of the match may cause to the Mexican Football Federation and thanks them for their willingness and patience over the last days,” the Fedefutbol statement reads.
“From now on, Fedefutbol makes a respectful call to the Government to start conversations and seeks its support for the matches that could be presented in October and November.”
Player availability likely played a key role in the cancellation. Costa Rica currently mandates a 14-day quarantine for citizens and residents returning to the country from Mexico.
The September friendly was to be a preview of upcoming competitive contests between the regional rivals. Mexico and Costa Rica have qualified to the final round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF and to the semifinal of the Nations League. Both tournaments have been rescheduled for 2021 due to the pandemic.
“We know that, at this time, the worldwide situation is complicated; the planning of contests will be subject to the provisions of the Ministry of Health for the management of the pandemic,” Rónald González, Costa Rica’s manager, said previously about international soccer in context of COVID-19.
González has also expressed his hope that Costa Rica can schedule additional friendlies in November against teams from other regions.
The Mexican Football Federation says it will soon announce a new opponent for September 30.