PCB wants visa problems sorted out for World Cup
Guyana Chronicle
January 26, 2007

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KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) wants World Cup organisers to set up a satellite visa office in Pakistan after complaints of problems obtaining visas for the tournament, an official said yesterday.

A Caribbean community special visa is being issued to fans in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia and New Zealand wanting to travel to West Indies for the tournament. Fans in South Asia have to apply to the Trinidad & Tobago consulate in New Delhi for the specal visas. "We have now sent a request to our foreign office to take up this issue and have also spoken to the World Cup organising committee," PCB spokesman Ehsan Malik told Reuters.

"We are hoping they will set up a satellite office in Pakistan to help out our fans who are eager to watch the World Cup," he added.

Malik said the PCB had received requests from fans, travel agents and organisations to help arrange the visas.

"But we can only facilitate people. They have to apply directly themselves," he added. A spokesman for the Travel Agents of Pakistan said they would face many cancellations for group tours if the visa problems were not resolved.

"Pakistan is a cricket-loving country and there is a lot of interest in the World Cup," said Tahir Rajput.

Malik said the special visas issued for the World Cup would be valid for all nine countries where matches are being played.

Pakistan is among 16 nations taking part in the World Cup starting on March 13.

"There's a part of me that would like them turned down but there's a part of me that realises that cricket needs to compete with other sports in the world.

"I'm sure there are people who love to hear the battles and what's being said. It makes you more a part of the game, I guess.