THE highest football stadium in the world is one of the scariest away days any club will face on the planet.
Peru‘s Daniel Alcides Carrion Stadium is even too dangerous for most international games to be played there because of the ridiculously high altitude.
This ground is located in the Peruvian city of Cerro del Pasco and stands at an almost unimaginable 4,378m above sea level – making it the stadium with the highest altitude on Earth.
At this jaw-dropping height, the players face an almighty uphill task as the oxygen around them begins to suddenly drop and sits lower than many of them would’ve ever faced before.
As with almost all team sports, but especially the hugely competitive world of football, a player requires a lot of oxygen to be taken in after 90minutes of constant hard running and extreme sprints.
This horror mix results in fatigue settling in before half time has even crossed a player’s mind.
read more in football stadiums
For context, the mammoth Mount Everest is 8,848 metres above sea level at its peak but Britain’s tallest mountain Ben Nevis is just 1,345m making the football ground substantially higher.
An even more staggering fact is that the stadium sits so high up that it would take over 14 Shard’s stacked on top of each other to be at the same height from sea level.
For this reason the stadium is only used to host Peru Cup matches on an international level on just a handful of occasions per year.
It is done during cup games as it gives the opposition players a chance to acclimatise to the altitude before kick off.
However, the ground does belong to a team in the third division of the Peruvian league called Union Minas.
Formally playing in the countries top league not so long ago, Union Minas have got a reputation as having one of world’s most feared away days.
Despite the clear challenges for players, the stadium is set behind a beautiful sight of the Andean mountains in Cerro de Pasco and can hold 8,000 fans at matches.
The pitch uses an artificial turf which makes it stand out even more from the typical football heritage many fans in Britain and Europe might expect.
Ban from football
Back in 2007, the footballing world was gripped by a controversial ban for stadiums that sat anywhere higher than 2,500m above sea level – including the Daniel Alcides Carrion Stadium.
FIFA made the ruling after saying home teams had an “unfair advantage” and said they were fearing for player safety after several complaints.
Several players were even see using bottled oxygen as a means of surviving through games because it was getting so tough for them.
The reason for this was because that ground sat 3,600m above sea level and showed that if Maradona, a then a 47-year-old, could play for over an hour at that altitude then so could fit, young professionals.
Despite this Lionel Messi once spoke about the challenges of playing at the La Paz ground saying: “You can’t play a lot within what height allows you.
“It’s terrible to play here. It’s hard. When you make an effort or run a bit, it is difficult to recover.”
And just last September, Argentina’s World Cup winning stars needed to use oxygen tubes to deal with the high altitude ahead of their clash with Bolivia.
Brazilian footballers were also pictured using huge tanks to simply get through some international matches in South America.
The ban on high altitude grounds was later revoked in May 2008, and FIFA has since allowed teams to return to their preferred playing ground.