Wales fans miss World Cup match with Iran due to permit card problems

A host of Wales fans were unable to attend their second World Cup game against Iran on Friday after being turned away at the airport.

Many supporters attending the finals in Qatar are staying in Dubai and flying into Doha for the fixtures, but dozens are reporting that the Hayya permit card required to get into the country for games has failed to function properly, resulting in them being denied entry.

This comes despite some of those same fans having attended Wales’ other game, a 1-1 draw with USA in their Group B opener, earlier in the week. On this occasion, however, some permits are displaying as “pending” approval, leading airport staff to deny those passangers from boarding.

“We got up at 02:30 this morning to travel in a taxi to the airport for a 06:30 flight, but when we got there we were told by officials that our Hayya cards had been rejected,” supporter Hywel Price told BBC.

“It’s hellish - there were 13 of us from Wales on that flight having the same issue, and trying to prove that we had been approved to travel, even though the app still said the permit was pending.

“People have had emails saying that their cards were valid, only to find when they get to the airport that they have been refused entry”.

A Twitter account representing Welsh fans posted contact information for any supporters struggling with the issue, but noted several who were initially unable to use their Hayya card had received a late approval to do so.

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Wales fans on Twitter were also reporting conflicting experiences on different airlines treating the matter in different ways, adding to the confusion.

The Welsh FA have already had to help fans overcome one issue in Qatar after those wearing rainbow bucket hats were stopped from entering the stadium.

It has been communicated by Fifa to the FAW that “fans with Rainbow Wall bucket hats and rainbow flags will be allowed entry to the stadium,” with personnel at all stadia in Qatar instructed to now allow anyone with the inclusive garments to not be detained or prohibited from attending matches.