Even though Mexico was knocked out of the World Cup in Qatar as early as the group stage, Mexican fans were among the most numerous, cheerful and appreciative at the final tournament. Their costumes, from calavera-inspired outfits to luchador masks, littered the cities of Qatar with banners, flags and, most importantly, music: from mariachis playing for a large portion of the fans to others singing Cielito Lindo. Despite being a low-profile team, the Mexicans rivalled the Argentinians and Brazilians in terms of fans. “What makes us different is that we are admired by other nations because we bring colour, life,” one Mexican fan explained to the cameras.
Many of them returned to the country with “El Tri”, but some decided to stay for the rest of the competition, bringing “colour and life” to the tournament in Qatar.
The press in their home country, however, also revealed some less admirable things about some of the Mexican fans. According to Fox News Mexico, several “El Tri” supporters have “tricked” the system and pretended to suffer from various disabilities in order to get cheaper tickets and a better view of the matches. The source obtained a description of this modus operandi from one of the fans who applied the method.
“I bought disabled tickets from the beginning, still at home in Mexico, because I knew they were cheaper and located in areas with maximum visibility. What’s more, we brought wheelchairs with us from home,” he revealed.
The Mexican said that when he arrived in Qatar he did not have to prove any kind of disability and that it all started with the purchase of the tickets.
“When you buy the tickets, they ask you for a photo or an X-ray to prove that you do indeed suffer from a disability and then, if everything goes well, they authorise the tickets you requested,” he explained.
According to the fan, he requested accessibility tickets after sending a photo of an X-ray that “proved” his disability and need for a wheelchair.
According to FIFA’s website, these are the conditions for authorising tickets for fans in wheelchairs: ‘International customers: medical certificate or proof that is customary and widely accepted in the customer’s country of residence.
“All accessibility ticket applicants/buyers can apply online on the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ ticket portal during specific sales phases. All customers applying for or purchasing accessibility tickets will be required to provide proof of eligibility to demonstrate that they are eligible to purchase.
Please ensure you can upload the supporting documents that will be required during the ticket application process. A specialised team will verify that you meet the required conditions,” the FIFA website also states.
The Mexican fan also recounted that a regular ticket for the group stage cost around $70, while a ticket for a wheelchair user was just $10, a big difference.
After Mexico’s elimination, the fan said he would return home early and return without his wheelchair, which he would give to someone in Qatar for free. What’s more, he put on sale four leftover tickets, already bought, from the knockout stages of the competition, which he knew he wouldn’t make it to.