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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Dec. 8, 2022: The controversy about soccer and its relationship with the fans isn’t anything new, but it has been highlighted again by a World Cup where financial disparity is made clear. The 2022 tournament has been exciting with plenty of upsets to the Vegas Odds already, but how does it feel to be a Latin American fan trying to attend the tournament?

Recently, a story went viral on social networks, where two Brazilian friends, agreed after watching the World Cup in Russia from São Paulo that they would save money for the next four years to go to the World Cup in Qatar. They kept on with the project and reached the 20 thousand Brazilian Reais planned for the trip.

In January this year, when they went to check the price of the air tickets, the first shock came: it was a R$ 8 thousand round trip. Later, a new surprise came, when they found the cheapest accommodation made available by FIFA. In the group of fans, the option has earned the nickname “Cohab”, a reference to the housing developments aimed at the low-income population. The daily cost is 100 dollars per person, approximately R$500.

They then tried to get the first round of tickets for the World Cup. They were drawn in a lottery and bought their place in the World Cup. But they saw the prices going up and weighed whether it would be worth it to reduce the time of the trip. In the end, they gave up. Today, they are trying to pass on their tickets and travel elsewhere.

A few months ago, FIFA released the list of the ten countries with more residents buying tickets for the World Cup in Qatar in the first period of the second phase of ticket sales. In addition to those who live in the host country, it cited residents of Canada, England, France, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, Spain, UAE, and the USA.

The absence of Brazilians, Argentinians, and Mexicans drew attention to this list, especially after, in late April, the entity released a list of countries with more requests for tickets. Residents of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico were in first, second, and fifth place, respectively.

FIFA recently released the list of countries of residence with the most tickets purchased for the World Cup so far, not counting the current phase. Argentine residents, who have requested the most tickets, are seventh on the list. Fans residing in Brazil, second in applications, are eighth.

Fans from the three Latin American countries were a major presence in the last two World Cups. In 2014, Brazilian fans were for obvious reasons as it was hosted there. In 2018, they were again numerous. They were also among the four countries with the most fans in Russia – second only to the Russians themselves. But this year they share space in Qatar with more European and Arab fans.

If the Latin American fans passion for soccer has not diminished and there is no lack of favoritism for the national teams of Brazil and Argentina – strong candidates for the title – then the real issue here is money. The economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine are hitting the pockets of people across the planet. More so for those at the bottom of the global economic pyramid.

Since the most vulnerable layers suffer the greatest effects of the crisis, the adverse moment is also felt by the middle class. This is precisely the public that has more difficulty in assuming the costs of going to a World Cup.

The devaluation of the currency against the dollar is also a problem for Latin Americans. In Argentina, the peso reached the lowest level in its history against the American currency in October last year. The exchange rate continues to be a big problem there.

Among the fans with higher purchasing power, who buy hospitality tickets for the World Cup, the ranking of countries of residence is composed of Qatar, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, India, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Hong Kong, and Brazil.

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