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17.02.2006 Football News

Ghanaians urge FIFA, EU to intervene in Germany visa acquisition


Accra, Feb. 17, GNA - The Ghana Supporters Union has urged world soccer governing body, FIFA and the European Union to bring pressure to bear on the Germany Embassy in Ghana to review its visa acquisition procedure to enable a lot more people to travel and support the Black Stars during the Summer World Cup.

The Union said the current requirements were discriminatory against third world countries particularly those from Africa, which, if not reviewed could deny a lot of prospective travellers the chance to go and support their national teams.

Alhaji Ahmed Bandoh, Chief Executive Officer of Bahmed Travel and Tours, sole agents of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) who spoke as a representative of the Union, told the GNA Sports that once there were differences in the requirements for those in Africa and Europe meant that there were deliberate attempts to frustrate the less developed countries from visiting Germany.

The Embassy in Accra warned late last year that acquisition of tickets was not a guarantee that fans could automatically be given visas.

Among the key requirements, an applicant should first purchase tickets for the number of matches intended to be watched, pay a visa fee of 35 Euro or its equivalent in cedis and then pay 15 dollars to a private company, VFS Ghana Limited, mandated by the Embassy to collect service charges including VAT on its behalf. A fan must also prove that he/she would return after the June 9-July 9 tournament.

Alhaji Bandoh said it would be unfair for a fan to be denied a visa after paying all the necessary fees, adding that if care was not taken it could have a multiplying effect on the economy.

"This requirement only favours the upper class in the society; but how many of these people can carry drums and cheer ceaselessly throughout the tournament," he asked.

He said if care was not taken a lot of the "real" supporters could be denied visas, which could have a negative effect on the performance of the Black Stars.

The Stars are making their maiden appearance at the mundial after several decades in the "wilderness". Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic and the United States of America have been paired in the same group. 17 Feb. 06