Welsh World Cup fans driving to Qatar 2022 stuck on Saudi border

The kingdom's road-traffic laws prevent them from continuing their journey in a right-hand drive vehicle

Wales World Cup captain Gareth Bale on Monday. He and his team might have to play on without four fans who are stuck at the Saudi border. PA
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Four Welsh football fans trying to reach Qatar in an electric car in time for Wales’s first game in the World Cup have been held up at the Saudi border and could miss the match.

The four set off 18 days ago and have crossed 17 countries, driving more than 6,100 kilometres in the car, nicknamed Morris.

After reaching the border between Jordan and Saudi Arabia, they were stopped because Saudi laws prevent them from continuing their journey in a right-hand drive vehicle.

The only option available is to turn around, drive back to Israel and take a ferry to Qatar — a two-week journey that would mean missing Wales’s opener against the US on November 21.

The drivers had been well on track to arrive in Qatar on Friday to meet the Wales team at their hotel.

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They are bringing with them video messages of support for the team collected from fans across the journey, but the border delay puts all of that in peril.

Nick Smith, Scott Young, Huw Talfryn Walters and Walter Pennell are all from South Wales and are travelling with support from Go Ev Cymru, a community interest company trying to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the country.

The MG4 electric car is being provided by FAW sponsors, Nathaniel Cars.

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“We were expecting problems with charging points or even the car itself on a journey of this length and magnitude, but the car has performed brilliantly and charging has not been a problem,” Mr Smith said from Aqaba in Jordan.

“To be stuck on a paperwork misunderstanding essentially is pretty frustrating. It would be devastating to turn around and drive back to Wales now and miss the World Cup when we’ve come this far.”

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Updated: November 15, 2022, 6:42 AM
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