Tuesday, June 18, 2019

ICC vs FIFA. Football World Cup Russia 2018 vs Cricket World Cup England 2019.

When football worldcup was held in Russia in 2018 the Russian government announced visa on arrival for football fans around the world.

Any fan having a match ticket was entitled for a visa on arrival irrespective of his nationality and irrespective if his country's team was playing in the worldcup or not.

Many fans from non worldcup participating countries like Pakistan,  India, Bangladesh,  China etc made use of this attractive visa policy and made their travels to Russia which proved to be the most successful football worldcup ever.

It was expected that other world sporting bodies and host countries will take inspiration from Russia and will facilitate fans in similar manner.

Now coming forward to the cricket world cup in the UK in 2019.

Getting the visa to the UK is one of the most difficult thing.

No relaxation of visa was offered for the fans who wished to visit UK to watch the cricket worldcup.

The visa officer as usualy, will inspect and suspect the usual availability of finances and probabilities  of returning back to the home country.

Considering that 5 of the 10  participating nations are from the third world country, the chances of securing the visa for the purpose of watching cricket matches gets very tricky.

For many it's one of a life time experience,  a pilgrimage, saving money for several years, to watch the cricket world cup match.

One's finances should not be made directly associated to be eligible to travel to a particular country to watch his favourite game.

We live in a digital age of gig economy, where with the help of internet and a mobile phone app, we can travel in any one's car (uber), can stay in any one's home (airbnb) and order food from any where, send and receive money with a snap of the finger thru the help of the mobile app.

Even in 2014 when India toured Pakistan for a cricket series,  Pakistani government offered visa to fans holding a match ticket and many Indians made use of that relax visa option and visited Pakistan in numbers, making it a landmark cricket series between Pakistan and India.

With the next T20 world cup in 2020 being held in Australia I am already shrugging of my chances due to fear of being rejected visa for similar reasons and the 2023 world cup to take place in India and looking at the political tension between the two countries I am not very optimistic about going there either.

With Pakistan already playing its home matches on foreign soil, I am putting my desire to watch a worldcup match at a stadium, and may come out of my comma when the world cup match is held in a less strict visa country which at present for us pakistanis, looks only srilanka.

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