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Costa Rica cancels Pre-World Cup friendly match against Iraq after passports disagreement

Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2022. 11:53 am CST.

Photo Credit: Costa Rican Football Federation (FCRF)

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Costa Rica Football Federation cancelled the friendly football match against Iraq, that was scheduled for Thursday at the Basra International Stadium in Iraq, after the authorities in that country insisted on stamping the Costa Rica passports upon entry.

The Costa Rican Football Federation issued a release on Wednesday saying that the agreement that the delegation’s passports would not be stamped was not maintained. The Costa Ricans had contractually agreed to play in Iraq if their passports were not stamped because of the problems that would cause them when travelling to other countries.

The Costa Rica delegation, which had been staying in Kuwait, travelled by land on Wednesday to play the game in Iraq. When they had already crossed the Kuwait border and were about to enter Iraq they were told their passports would be stamped.

The Costa Rica Football Federation president Rodolfo Villalobos said in a press conference that they then decided not to enter Iraq but had to wait 8 ½ hours because their two drivers’ passports been retained by an Iraqi immigration official and their equipment, including uniforms, football boots, footballs, hydrating drinks, and medical supplies, was already on the Iraqi side of the border. Villalobos said that only after they received assistance from Kuwaiti officials the two passports and their equipment were returned.

After clearing the Kuwait immigration, the delegation travelled back to their hotel in Kuwait where they are staying prior to the World Cup which starts on Sunday, November 20.

The match was to have been Costa Rica’s final preparation match for the World Cup.


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