Some fans will go to any lengths to get a ticket for the World Cup, and one Peruvian has taking it to the extreme by gaining 25 kilograms in order to qualify for a special ‘obese seat.’
This is Peru’s first World Cup in 36 years, and according to FIFA statistics, Peruvians have acquired the eighth most tickets of any country in the world with 43,582 tickets bought. But, when there were no more tickets available there were still many people who missed out.
A man who was identified as Miguel F, a 24-year-old from Lima, didn’t manage to get a ticket before they all sold out and decided to take drastic measures to get a seat in Russia.
“The only tickets that were left on the FIFA website where ticket for disabled people,” Miguel told Clarin. “I looked at the requirements; be in a wheelchair, something specific for women and suffering from morbid obesity, over 35 BMI, body mass index. I was at 30, and I did the math. I needed to put on 25 kg.”
He bought the ticket immediately and then set his sights on gaining the weight he needed in three months, which involved eating a lot of carbohydrates. Thankfully he managed to get a medical certificate proving his obesity and getting him into the match between Peru and Denmark on Saturday.
Miguel told Argentina’s La Nacion that his mother was worried about him, but that he still swam two kilometres a day in order to avoid other negative health effects from the weight gain.
Many may think this an extreme length to go to in order to see a football match, but he is not the only one.
“I know people who sold their car,” Marco García, a businessman from Lima told La Nacion. “And one of my friends was thinking about breaking their leg, also to get a disabled ticket, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it.”
At the last World Cup in Brazil in 2014, El Comercio reported that people also took advantage of the disabled tickets to enter in wheelchairs. However, when pictures were released of these people standing up to applaud their teams, they sparked worldwide indignation.
This year FIFA required medical certificates in order to qualify for a disabled seat, requiring people like Miguel to take rather a more drastic approach.
Peru plays their first World Cup match this Saturday against Denmark at 11 a.m. local time.