World Cup 2022: Large group of Wales fans miss Iran game due to Dubai airport "glitch"

Wales fans
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A large group of Wales fans were reportedly left stranded at Dubai airport and unable to reach Qatar in time for their second World Cup 2022 (opens in new tab) game against Iran.

Rob Page’s side face the Iranians in a crucial Group B game in Doha on Friday, after drawing their opener 1-1 against the USA.

However, BBC reporter Eleri Sion (opens in new tab) tweeted that 78 Welsh fans were turned away from a flight to Qatar in Dubai airport.

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The issue was that their Hayya cards, a permit required to enter the Middle Eastern state, weren’t accepted due to a “glitch in the system”.

Permits were still coming up as pending on an app, leaving them unable to board flights.

One fan told the BBC (opens in new tab): "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.

"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".

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.