UPDATE: Family of missing Spanish football fan confirm Iran arrest ‘no charge weighs on him’

UPDATE: "Missing' Spanish football fan hiking to Qatar arrested in Iran. Credit: @santiago_sanchez_cogedor/Instagram.

THE Spanish football fan, who was hiking from Madrid to Qatar to watch the World Cup, has been arrested in Iran, his family has confirmed.

UPDATE: 19.30 (October 28) – A Spanish football fan who set out to walk to Qatar to watch the World Cup has been arrested in Iran, his family has confirmed.

Santiago Sanchez Cogedor started his 4,300-mile (6,920-kilometre) trek to Qatar to watch the 2022 Football World Cup, documenting his journey to his Instagram followers

The missing football fan left Alcala de Henares near Madrid on January 8. He hoped to reach Qatar at the start of November ahead of the start of the World Cup.

His mother Celia Cogedor spoke to Spanish TV channel Trece late on Thursday confirming that they had not heard from him in almost a month, but that news had finally come through of his arrest.

“The foreign ministry confirmed he was being held in Iran and that his state of health was good,” she said.

Nueva Alcarria reports that his mother told reporters of her son that “no charge weighs on him.”

The Spanish ambassador to Iran is taking steps to “ask the Iranian authorities for authorisation to visit him”.

UPDATE 4.45 pm (October 26) – Spanish football fan and former paratrooper, Santiago Sanchez Cogedor, 40, who went missing on the Iraqi Kurdistan border with Iran, has apparently been arrested for visiting the grave of murdered 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini.

Santiago’s family, who had lost track of him at the beginning of October when he was about to cross the border between Kurdistan and Iran, are said to have been informed of his arrest in Iran.

According to Twitter account @iranintlsport citing information from Iran International, “Santiago Sanchez, a soccer fan from Spain, who disappeared three weeks ago after entering Iran, was arrested in the city of Saqqez and at the tomb of Mahsa Amini.

“It is said that he was arrested along with his translator and then transferred to Tehran.”


ORIGINAL 1 pm (October 21) – A football fan from Spain who was hiking from Madrid to Qatar is reported to have disappeared near Iran.

Former paratrooper Santiago Sanchez Cogedor, 40, went missing on the Iraqi Kurdistan border with Iran, according to reports.

The Real Madrid fan started his 4,300-mile (6,920-kilometre) trek to Qatar to watch the 2022 Football World Cup, documenting his journey to his 37,000 Instagram followers

The missing football fan left Alcala de Henares near Madrid on January 8. He hoped to reach Qatar at the start of November.

Santiago’s last contact with friends and family was on October 2, the day after he reportedly sent a close friend, Miguel Bergado, a picture of himself near the border.

Spanish World Cup fan hiking to Qatar 'disappears' near Iran
Spanish World Cup fan hiking to Qatar ‘disappears’ near Iran. The route that Santiago Sanchez Cogedor was talking. Credit: Santiago Sanchez Cogedor/Instagram.

Close friend Miguel Bergado told El Mundo: “The last time I spoke with him was on October 1.

“He sent me his location and he was in Iraqi Kurdistan, five kilometres from the border with Iran.”

Iran has been rocked by unrest after protests have continued to spread in defiance of a government crackdown, with the government using heavy-handed tactics to try and bring the situation under control.

Mr Bergado added: “My feeling is that because of the political issue they could have retained him in Iran for being a foreigner.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by CAMINANDO DE MADRID A QATAR (@santiago_sanchez_cogedor)

Mr Santiago opted to enter Iran after deciding against trying to get into Saudi Arabia. His final Instagram post, also on October 1, shows a photo with a young boy with his thumbs up, with a diary explanation of Mr Santiago’s experiences playing football with locals and being invited to eat with a family.

He said: “I couldn’t pass that experience up and I ate with a family and all the kids.

“After eating all the children escorted me to the end of the town with a very special hug, the palms of their hands in the mouth giving each other kisses and throwing them to me.

“Tears of emotion walking fast I arrive to the mountain where I already see Iran.”


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Vickie S
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Vickie Scullard

A journalist of more than 12 years from Manchester, UK, Vickie now lives in Madrid and works as a news writer for the Euro Weekly News.

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