Thousands of empty seats have been seen throughout the opening stages of this winter’s World Cup in Qatar, although the official attendance figures say differently.
According to those behind the figures, the official attendance for Qatar’s opener against Ecuador on Sunday afternoon was announced as 67,372, despite the Al Bayt Stadium having a capacity of 60,000, according the Qatar 2022 official website.
In addition to those stats, a figure of 45,334 was announced as the attendance for England‘s emphatic 6-2 win against Iran in their opening game of Group B, with the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha having an overall capacity of 40,000.
And again, plenty of empty seats could be seen in that game.
It doesn’t stop there, either. As Senegal slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Netherlands on Monday afternoon, the official attendance was announced as 41,721 inside the 40,000 capacity Al Thumama Stadium, with more empty seats visible throughout.
Hours later and the 40,000 capacity Ahmad bin Ali Stadium hosted Wales’ clash against the USA with a reported attendance of 43,418.
Again, all of these figures are taken from the Qatar 2022 official website and FIFA, who clearly state in their hospitality section that the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium has a capacity of 40,000.
Attendance figures in full:
Qatar 0-2 Ecuador: 67,372 (Official capacity: 60,000)
England 6-2 Iran: 45,334 (Official capacity: 40,000)
Senegal 0-2 Netherlands: 41,721 (Official capacity: 40,000)
USA 1-1 Wales: 43,418 (Official capacity: 40,000)
A reason behind the lack of attendance during the England vs Iran game on Monday might be down to the chaos before kick-off.
Hundreds of England fans were left stranded outside the Khalifa International Stadium after the FIFA ticketing app crashed.
Tickets for the Qatar World Cup are digital as opposed to paper copies but the app whereby the ticket is situated glitched out at the worst possible time.
Ahead of kick-off, those digital tickets completely disappeared from the app and that led to a large crowd gathering outside the ground, with locals and supporters from both sets of supporters affected.
There were even chants of “Infantino out!” aimed at FIFA president Gianni Infantino outside the stadium. The Telegraph estimate that the stadium was 80 percent full for when the first ball was kicked.
One fan told the outlet: “I woke up to find a message saying tickets not found. I’ve bought tickets for the whole family – it’s cost me about £800.
“I went to the center in the middle of Doha and they told me to go to the game. Now there’s a huge queue and no one seems to know what’s going on. It’s a shambles.”
FIFA, meanwhile, pledged to work to resolve the issue as soon as possible. They also reminded fans to check their email accounts as well as direct them to the ticketing centre for support.
A statement read: “Some spectators are currently experiencing an issue with accessing their tickets via the FIFA ticketing app. FIFA is working on solving the issue.
“In the meantime, fans who are not able to access their mobile tickets should check the email account they used to register with the Ticketing app for further instructions.”