Eugenio Figueredo, president of the Uruguay Football Association, set off to Zurich to a meeting of the International Football Association Federation (FIFA), to complain about the tensions between Uruguay and Australia created by the World Cup play-offs, Uruguay media said on Wednesday.
"We cannot hold our peace nor can we put up with unjustified pressure from Australia," said Figuero, as he boarded the plane at Montevideo airport.
Uruguay and Australia are due to play each other on Nov. 12 and Nov. 16. The winner of the two-leg series will go through to the World Cup in Germany in 2006. The two sides met in 2001, ahead of the South Korea-Japan World Cup. That time Uruguay won through to the 2002 competition.
At the end of last week, John O'Neill, chief executive of the Australian Football Federation, was quoted as saying: "I believe that there is an orchestrated campaign by some very bad elements of the Montevideo football media with the object of systematically intimidating Australian players."
He asked FIFA to make sure that security for the Australian team in Montevideo would be appropriate. In 2001, Uruguayan fans harrassed and spat on some Australian players as they arrived at the airport.
Separeately, on Monday, Uruguay announced a revised schedule for the Nov. 12 match that means that Australians will miss their planned return flight. The revised schedule came just after Australian officials rejected a Uruguyan request to change the first leg of the play-off to Nov. 11, to give players more time to recuperate and prepare for the Sydney match.
On Wednesday, O'Neill suggested the Australian team had already made contingency plans and might even charter a plane to return to Australia.