Honduras coach calls FIFA playoff dates 'inhumane'

FILE PHOTO: Honduras's head coach Jorge Luis Pinto leaves the field after their soccer match, World Cup 2018 Qualifiers, Azteca Stadium, Mexico City, Mexico, June 08, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero

(Reuters) - FIFA's decision to schedule the World Cup qualifier between Australia and Honduras with just five days in between the two matches was "inhumane", the Central Americans' coach Jorge Luis Pinto has said. The first match in the intercontinental playoff for a spot at the finals in Russia next year is scheduled to take place in Central America on Nov. 10, with the second leg in Sydney five days later. There are no direct flights from Australia to Honduras and the Honduran team's logistics manager told local newspaper La Prensa they have to fly to Los Angeles before connecting on a flight heading Down Under. "It's inhumane of FIFA to put the dates so close with such a long trip in between them," Pinto said in quotes that were widely reported in Honduras on Monday. However, Pinto said his team will have a slight advantage in playing the first match at home. "We don't have to do two trips that could be harmful to us," he said in quotes published in the Diez sports newspaper. "On the other hand, Australia have to come here and play the game and then go home and that's more tiring." (Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)