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World Cup 2022: Qatar cancels Yemeni visas for tournament, say local reports

Football fans from Yemen complain of Hayya card being revoked with no explanation, potentially causing them to lose vast sums
Workers move trash bins past Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament posters in Doha on 21 October 2022 (AFP)
Workers move trash bins past Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup football tournament posters in Doha on 21 October (AFP)

Yemeni football fans have had their Hayya cards, the document which acts as a visa for World Cup ticket holders in Qatar, cancelled without explanation, according to local media reports.

Al-Mashhad al-Yemeni reported on Friday evening that citizens had told the publisher of their surprise after being notified the document had been rejected, despite having been previously approved. 

The report included a screenshot of an email sent to a Yemeni football fan, stating: "Your request for a Hayya card has been declined." No explanation was provided for the decision. 

There has yet to be any official comment from Yemeni or Qatari authorities, or football's governing body Fifa. 

Several Yemenis posted images on Twitter of their rejected Hayya application. 

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“My card was accepted for four months, and I was surprised yesterday that it was rejected,” wrote one user, accompanied by a screenshot of his profile on the online platform.

“Yesterday, it was refused even though the tickets were available a month and a half ago and everything was paid,” said another.

Fifa told Middle East Eye that this was a matter for Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), the World Cup organising committee, which said it was looking into the issue.

The SC did not respond to MEE's request for comment by the time of publication. 

Aden Today reported that hundreds of Yemeni fans had paid large sums on match tickets, airfare and hotel reservations, and were set to suffer huge losses if the decision was not reversed.

"Without the slightest respect for working with Fifa principles and sports law, Qatar cancelled all Hayya cards belonging to Yemenis," wrote Yemeni journalist Nabil Alosaidi. 

"I wish that the organising committee and the Qatari authorities will be able to resolve this so Yemenis will be able to attend and enjoy the tournament like the rest of the world," tweeted Baraa Shiban, a former adviser to the Yemeni embassy in London. 

In addition to acting as a visa, the Hayya card is necessary to enter football stadiums during the tournament, which kicks off on 20 November. It can also be used by fans to travel on Doha's public transportation for free.

Last week, Saudi Arabian authorities announced that Muslim holders of the card would be able to perform the umrah pilgrimage in Mecca without the need to pay for a visa.

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