June 19 (UPI) -- A Venezuelan businessman has the all-time record for most attendances of the quadrennial World Cup soccer championship tournament, Guinness World Records said Monday.
Hely Garagozzo has made it to every single World Cup event since 1982, when it was held in Spain. The tournaments are held once every four years, so Garagozzo's record is nine straight -- good enough for Most FIFA World Cup tournaments attended by an individual.
"It's the magic of football," he said. "That transcends the field and transforms into culture."
Because the international tournament is held in various locations around the world, Garagozzo has logged substantial mileage criss-crossing the globe to witness the World Cups -- nearly 150,000 miles worth.
"Equivalent to 5.67 full circumnavigations of the Earth!" Guinness said.
Beginning with Spain, the tournament locations Garagozzo has visited over the last three decades include Mexico (1986), Italy (1990), the United States (1994), France (1998), South Korea/Japan (2002), Germany, (2006) South Africa (2010) and Brazil (2014). The next event will be hosted by Russia next year and Qatar in 2022. Garagozzo says he'll attend both.
Guinness said it verified Garagozzo's claim by reviewing his ticket stubs, photographs and other evidence.