When Australia qualified for the World Cup, it represented an opportunity for many football fans to not only see their beloved Socceroos take on the best on the planet, but also a chance to see host nation Russia first hand.
What they didn’t see coming however was the rejection by Russian authorities of the visa applications of some of the green and gold’s biggest fans.
According to SBS, while most supporters seem to have had a smooth run to the finals, a small number have been left disappointed and confused after their required Fan IDs (needed to enter the country and attend matches) were suddenly rejected.
Having budgeted more than $5,000 on flights and hotels for a trip he had planned since March, Socceroos fan Aaron Camm told SBS News he was “gutted” about the rejection, which he had received via a “weird” email from organisers.
“But also a bit puzzled, I’m like, ‘Why me?’ If there is a legitimate reason for security purposes or something like that – why me? I’m a fan with a disability,” said Camm, who requires a wheelchair to get around.
According to the Aussie, four of his friends in Australia and abroad have had similar issues, and he said he had no idea why they’d been rejected.
“I just can’t think of any incidents I would have been involved in is a reason why anything like this could have come up,” he said.
“The only thing that links us up is we’re a bunch of mates who’ve all gone on away trips together.
While he waits for an appeal to be considered, and attempts to obtain a tourist visa through the Russian consulate, Camm said he would stay optimistic.
“Up until my flight leaves on the 12th of June I will be trying everything in my power to get myself on the plane. I still haven’t given up,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, his friend Reuben Garlett told SBS he had thought the notification to be “a scam or a computer glitch”.
“I was kind of shocked because I’ve never been in trouble, like really ever.”
The Green & Gold Army tour group has not reported any similar problems.