Visa problems could threathen Guam-Iran World Cup qualifier

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Visas for members of the national football team to enter have been delayed two weeks ahead of a qualifying match, leaving a Guam official to say political tensions between the U.S. and the Islamic republic shouldn’t affect sports.

Matao, the national football team for the U.S. territory of Guam, is scheduled to play Iran on Sept. 3 in a Group D World Cup qualifying match, but the team has struggled to get the necessary visas.

Guam Football Association President Richard K. Lai said the Iran Football Association has been giving them “the run-around,” and if the situation doesn’t get straightened out soon, the lack of visas could keep Guam players out of Iran.

Guam began the process of obtaining visas to Iran in June and was told only recently by the association that it would take 21 days to first obtain an authorization code to get their passports stamped with visas, Lai said.

They were told that would initially take seven days, and Matao planned a training camp in Qatar the week before match with Iran, he said.

“We asked them to forward all the reference numbers to the Iranian Embassy in Qatar. They said that was not possible because the training camp is only five days and then it takes seven days to get the visa,” Lai said.

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