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Colombia 86

Why wasn't the 1986 World Cup held in Colombia? We will never know. However, we do know that FIFA demanded a World Cup with 24 teams in 12 venues (as in Spain 82). Colombia argued that when it asked for the World Cup, the championship was played by 16 teams and the tournament was not so sumptuous. FIFA also demanded the construction of stadiums with a capacity of 40,000 spectators for the first phase, 60,000 for the second phase and 80,000 for the opening and final phase. It also required the modernisation of the lighting in some stadiums, so Colombia ensured that all matches would be played in daylight.

All host cities had to have IATA-standard airports and be linked by a network of railways and roads. In response to this, a Colombian official said: "the FIFA directors don't seem to have ever seen a map of Colombia in their lives", because, according to him, the Colombian relief made rail communication impossible.

Hotel prices were to be frozen from January 1986. Entry taxes could not exceed 15 per cent. Commissions for ticket agencies would have to be less than 10%. These last demands were described as an attempt to violate Colombian sovereignty.

On 25 October 1982, in a televised address, President Belisario Betancur Cuartas announced his refusal to host the World Cup, describing FIFA's demands as "extravagant". Four days earlier, Gabriel García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Betancur considered that the showcase that had been lost with the World Cup would be recovered with the Nobel Prize.

This unique and unrepeatable moment in the history of Colombia has many characters and situations that have been lost over time. Characters and situations that we will be reminding you of here so that you can reflect, confused, without knowing where the uchrony is: in the novel, in the real life that we think we lead?

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