Football fans had to vent their frustration after being unable to fly to Qatar for the World Cup despite having Hayya tickets.
Anyone traveling to Qatar during the tournament must have the mandatory document for World Cup players, officials, staff, media, ticket holders and their guests.
Organizers said applications for international fans should take five calendar days for provisional approval, subject to compliance with the quality of photocopies and passport copies, and up to an additional 24 hours for accommodation confirmation, depending on the species.
The card offers free subway and bus travel in Doha.
From December 2, fans will be allowed to enter Qatar without tickets but will still need to apply for a Hayya card, it was announced this month.
afraid of losing everything
However, many are confused and frustrated by delays in processing the Hayya card application – despite having valid playing cards.
“I bought a ticket for the England vs Wales game earlier this week but I’m still waiting for travel authorization and it’s just over 24 hours to go,” said 60-year-old Dubai resident Hughie Bigley, who is based in the emirate runs a furniture manufacturer.
“My accommodation has not yet been cleared on the Hayya system, which is absolutely insane.
“I’m supposed to fly over Friday afternoon with the game later tonight, but if the permit doesn’t go through I’ll have absolutely lost everything.”
The Englishman said he paid Dh9,000 ($2,450) for the flights to and from Doha, which he says will be wasted money if official approval doesn’t arrive on time.
“I’ve been to two previous World Cups, in Russia and Japan, and there’s never been anything like it,” he said.
“This is in complete contrast to how smoothly the Expo in Dubai ran when it had millions of visitors with no such problems.”
Another UAE resident is also worried he will miss the game he bought tickets for weeks ago.
“My friend in Doha referred me his ticket to the Iran-Wales game three weeks ago as his wife is pregnant,” said David, a lawyer in Abu Dhabi who declined to give his full name.
“Everything went well in the Fifa app – it was all very smooth – the problem arose when I was trying to apply for the Hayya mobile application which I need to get to Qatar.
“I had an error message saying my ticket split number was invalid. I couldn’t get past the first step and there was no explanation as to why it wasn’t working.
“I called the Hayya Help Center twice a day for a week before I could get any clarity on what the problem was.”
Since his friend’s wife launched the Hayya application but left it incomplete, all related tickets were blocked.
David was unable to pair his ticket with a Hayya app until the original application was completed and then canceled by his friend’s wife.
“She couldn’t cancel anything until she completed her Hayya application,” David said.
“The Hayya portal wouldn’t let her change her application, which caused a problem and her photo wasn’t clear enough and the system wouldn’t accept another photo.
“She eventually got a text message to upload the required documents but we heard nothing and we were in a death loop of administration over whether or not we could book flights.
“We were even told to call Fifa in Switzerland for an update. They were very confused when we called them and that didn’t get us anywhere.
“Our emails were being ghosted and we just had to keep calling and were put on hold for ages.
“I’m sure there are many people in the same situation who bought tickets on the secondary market in good faith but will have difficulty activating their tickets.”
problems in Doha
Local fans are also frustrated at finding information about their tickets.
“The problem is that nobody speaks Spanish here, in any shop or restaurant,” says Jorge Silva from Buenos Aires, 47, who works at Fischer and is a member of the second division Racing Club in the Argentine capital.
“There are a lot of people here from Spanish-speaking countries who don’t speak English and can’t explain themselves properly at the Hayya helpdesk.
“They should have at least three different voice actors at each desk.”
Mr Silva has a ticket for the Spain vs Japan match on December 1st.
“I had a problem with my ticket. I bought it from my friend and got an email with the ticket but it doesn’t show up in my app,” he said.
“He disappeared. He doesn’t have it and neither do I, so I’m in limbo.
“They said to return to the settlement center tomorrow to try to sort it out. I am here in Doha until December 10th, I flew here from Buenos Aires via Madrid.”
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Updated November 24, 2022 at 3:45 p.m