This text was originally posted in a slightly different version in European Football Weekends on January 2, 2022
Buying tickets for Süper Lig or Turkish Cup matches as a foreigner is nowadays more difficult than ever. This is due to the mandatory Passolig registration and the need to connect a so called HES-Code with one's Passolig card. We managed to buy tickets almost without problems for all the games we planned to attend in the fifth Turkish cup round which seemed impossible right before departure looking at several blogs and threads on the internet. Please note that we only went to cup matches far from being sold out. An important Süper Lig game might hold other challenges, but the system we got in touch with seems to be constant for all venues and competitions. This is what you need to start doing at least two days before departure:
Please note that the following steps 1 and 2 are described in more detail on many pages on the web. I found this one especially helpful: https://www.nomadbento.com/12038.htm.
1. Create your account at https://www.passo.com.tr/en. Your correct mobile number will be vital throughout your trip.
2. Apply for a Passolig card. Right after you created your account (see step 1), you find the link to the application at the top right of the front page.
3. Receive your HES-Code (see https://hayatevesigar.saglik.gov.tr/hes-eng.html) by filling in the passenger locator form before traveling to Türkiye.
4. Travel to Türkiye.
Important remarks: You won't be able to buy your match-tickets online. This is because Passolig wants you to connect a HES-Code to your account. However, foreigners are not able to do so since the Turkish Health Ministry has to activate a HES-Code to give it the same status as a Turkish citizen's HES-Code. You will have to go to the ticket office before each game and bring your HES-Code for the staff to process it which gets further explained in the following step:
5. Go to the stadium at least one hour before the game. We prepared a sheet in google translated Turkish with our Passolig details (e-mail, phone number, ID-number and password), paper copies of our HES-Codes and handed this set of documents into the box offices along with our IDs. You will be asked if you “have Passolig” and your answer will be: "yes, but my card has not arrived yet. I have an account, the details are listed on the sheet I gave you". Passolig allows you to get a match day pass in case you lost your physical card, forgot it or it was not delivered by the time you arrived in Türkiye. If you applied for a Passolig Card 15 days before your first game in Türkiye, it might have arrived at the venue chosen by you. If you pick it up or not doesn't really matter if you will only be in Türkiye for a short stay. At the box office, you might be asked if you want to pay cash or with Passolig credit. We would recommend to top up your Passolig Card in your account with enough money for the ticket you want to purchase even if it is not refundable. Box offices will mostly prefer cash payment. In the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, however, they struggled to hold enough bills for change. Cash payment worked everywhere in the end, but the less clubs are organized, the longer takes the whole process. For us it took between 5 (Besiktas) and 25 (Fatih Karagümrük) minutes to get our tickets.
6. In the end, you will receive a small paper card where your ticket and personal data are saved on. They all look the same and information about your block, row and seat remain invisible. Make sure to ask for this information at the box office to be able to find your right entrance.
This is it. Staff at the box offices was always very helpful and we always met someone to speak enough English. However, police and security are relentless if you don't apply with all the rules. If you don't have a Passolig ticket, you most likely won't enter. Don't expect answers by the clubs or the TFF by e-mail if you have any questions. The atmosphere in Turkish football can be amazing, but the whole system is not very friendly to football lovers and tourists in particular. We went to Kasimpasa, Galatasaray, Fatih Karagümrük Women (no Passolig needed), Fatih Karagümrük (Olympic Stadium), Fenerbahce and Besiktas this week. We met people who went to Antalyaspor and Trabzonspor who seemed to have gone through the same process.