With less than four months to go for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, football fans have begun their preparations towards the big event.
While Brazil is ready to welcome the football world to its country with open hands, the message has also been drummed home around the world: No World Cup tickets, no entry visas!
Irrespective of all the preparations football fans make towards this trip, considered as ‘ a pilgrimage to world football’s Mecca’, one cannot be granted a visa if tickets to matches have not been purchased.
Not only will visa applicants be required to provide proof of the purchased tickets (the confirmation slips issued online), they will also be required to provide confirmation slips of their air tickets and accommodation bookings to qualify for the free visas to be issued during the World Cup period.
The Brazil Ambasador to Ghana, Madam Irene Vida Gala, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday, stressed that while her outfit was anticipating a huge application for visas for the World Cup from particularly Ghanaians, the decision which was applicable at Brazil’s embassies and consulates everywhere would be to issue visas for free to those who have purchased match tickets from football’s world governing body, FIFA, online.
“ It is a requirement because we want to be sure people are actually going to watch the games and the tickets are sold online only by FIFA. Neither the tour operators nor the Ghana Football Association (G.FA) are selling the tickets. It can only be purchased online at the FIFA website and no blank confirmation slips will be accepted,” Madam Gala stressed.
She said apart from the match tickets, it was also necessary to request for the air tickets and accommodation bookings because it was not worth it issuing free visas which would not be used and also prevent inconveniences for those who will go without prior accommodation bookings.
“ We don’t want anyone to go and be stranded in Brazil.Things are not that simple and it is important that we are assured that those applying are ready for the cost involved,” Madam Gala emphasised.
The ambassador who was excited about the impending event, said the added – bonus for those who had purchased the World Cup tickets would be to acquire also for free,visas for their spouses and children.
“The World Cup is also a big family event and we want to encourage families times out, so once there is proof that one spouse has purchased the tickets, and with the air tickets and accommodation bookings, the spouse and children who intend to go on the trip will be issued with free visas.” she explained.
The other category of people who will be issued with free visas and who will not need to show proof of World Cup ticket purchased are those who have official accreditation from FIFA, in this case, media men and others who have specific roles to play. This, however, is also subject to confirmation from the football world governing body.
“At this point, we will not be giving any special dispensation to anyone if they do not meet the stated requirements. Apart from the President of a participating country who will not need a ticket to be at the stadium for a match, everyone will be required to attend with a match ticket.
For those who want to go to Brazil at all cost during the World Cup period but who do not fall into any of the categories above, all hope is not lost, they can also apply for the tourist visa but will have to show proof of financial ability to take care of oneself in Brazil in addition to presenting the confirmation slip for air ticket and accommodation bookings as well as pay the fee for the visa.
Credit: Daily Graphic