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Sport

Fans offered alternative World Cup base if Wales reach Qatar… in Iran

15 Apr 2022 4 minute read
Iran hopes to accommodate thousands of football fans during the World Cup

There’s the little matter of a World Cup playoff final clash to consider first, but if Wales do qualify for the finals in Qatar there will be a clamour for fans to book trips.

Accommodation in the tiny Arabian nation is set to be extremely scarce with hotel rooms already costing fortunes and many fans would have to stay in nearby cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates before travelling to games.

Wales could be up against Iran, along with England and the USA in the Finals in November if they defeat either Ukraine or Scotland in the World Cup play-off final on June 5.

And it’s Iran who could potentially solve an accommodation headache for members of the Red Wall.

Wales’ potential World Cup opponents are opening doors to supporters in an attempt to persuade thousands football fans to stay there for the tournament after agreeing to opening up their borders after signing an agreement with Qatar, which they hope will boost their tourist economy.

However, there’s a catch – and it’s a sizeable one – drinking alcohol is illegal.

The Red Wall. Picture by Peter Hughes (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Nevertheless, Iran has announced they will welcome fans including potentially the Red Wall to stay in their country while the finals are taking place.

Previously, tourists were banned unless they had special permission to visit the vast country from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s government.

But Iran will waive visas for the World Cup duration and are encouraging fans to base themselves in the Iranian resort of Kish island, which is only a 45 minute flight away from Doha or a six-hour ferry ride.

While Kish is the main focus, Iranian authorities also hope to be able to utilise other islands and cities of the southern Hormozgan Province to welcome fans.

Tourism

Iranian transport minister Rostam Ghasemi said he expected hundreds of thousands of World Cup fans to stay in Iran.

“We are now planning to create the grounds for foreign fans and tourists to travel to Iran during their leisure times to visit our country’s attractions as well,” he said.

Stays in Iran will likely be much cheaper for foreign visitors than those in Qatar, in part because of the battering the Iranian currency the Rial has taken due to sanctions imposed by the United States in recent years.

Iranian authorities hope fans staying on Kish and travelling back and forth during the World Cup could benefit the country’s tourism sector, which has been significantly affected in recent years by the combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the sanctions.

There are now 72 flights between Iran and Qatar daily. That number could be boosted to 100 flights per day during the World Cup.

Iran is also trying to employ new cruise ships to facilitate sea travel to Qatar.

Wales football supporters. Red Wall

Nevertheless, it might only be an option to those teetotal Wales fans, given Iran banned alcohol since the establishment of its Islamic government in 1979.

The UK Foreign Office advice states: “The import, sale, manufacture and consumption of alcohol in Iran is strictly forbidden on religious grounds, with exceptions only for certain recognised Iranian religious minorities (not foreigners).

“Penalties can be severe.”

However, transport minister Rostam Ghasemi said: “We want thousands of World Cup fans to stay in our beautiful country.

“We have signed an agreement with Qatar and there will be many more flights to Doha. There will be a visa waiver scheme for the duration of the tournament.

“We want tourists to enjoy our facilities, our hospitality and to visit many of our country’s attractions as well.”

So Wales fans would you consider basing yourself in Iran for the World Cup if we were to qualify for the first time since 1958?

Let us know.


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Gruff Williams
Gruff Williams
5 months ago

No Way

Dark Mrakeford
Dark Mrakeford
5 months ago

I wouldn’t want to stay anywhere in the region.

Llinos
Llinos
5 months ago

I am told by my son that Cymru played games in Georgia and that country is at war. Tblisi where the game was played was about 12 miles I think he said from the fighting. If not for their tendency to use Western women as hostages to get governments to pay old debts (as with Nazanin Zaghari Radcliffe) I think it would be an interesting place to visit

Last edited 5 months ago by Llinos
Llinos
Llinos
5 months ago
Reply to  Llinos

Everyone has a right to up or downvote as they please, but I find myself curious as to why two people so far felt the need to downvote what seems to me to be an innocuous comment containing two facts and one desire to visit. Can I ask those downvoters what upset them about my post?

George Smith
George Smith
5 months ago

I would love to stay in Iran. Been wanting to stay in Kish Island for ever. It’s is gorgeous. People who can’t do without liquor for a couple of days – their problem is not Iran. It is called alcoholism. Stay away. Go to a AA meeting.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
5 months ago
Reply to  George Smith

Er think their ‘problem’ might be the Iranian regime’s shocking human rights record https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/middle-east-and-north-africa/iran/report-iran/

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
5 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Where exactly then do you draw the line.Qatars Human Rights record has been called into question.Also China hosted the Winter Olympics and even with The State of Victoria being given the next Commonwealth games questions should be asked about The treatment of Australian Aboriginals.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
5 months ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

Think it should be self explanatory ‘Johnny’ – you ‘draw the line’ by not awarding international tournaments to countries with dismal human rights records. China and qatar should not have been given those tournaments!

Last edited 5 months ago by Leigh Richards
Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
5 months ago
Reply to  George Smith

I’m with you on that one George it’s not the end of The World if you can’t have alcohol going to a sporting event.

Harry Robertson
Harry Robertson
5 months ago

No Way – i will not travel to Qatar or Iran for it but not because of alcohol. As a gay Welsh man i will not put myself at risk and I will not put any of my money into the economy of any country that imprisons and murders other gay men. That is condoning their barbaric practises. FIFA talk about stamping out homophobia in football but a few token rainbow flags, armbands or laces do nothing when the corrupt organisation takes backhanders to award tournaments to countries like Russia and Qatar. This maybe the only time in my lifetime… Read more »

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