The FIFA World Cup continues to be marred with 'embarrassing' scenes as England fans were unable to enter the stadium for their opener against Iran, while other games featured empty seats across Qatar. On the second day in Qatar, England kicked off their group stage opener against Iran with thousands of fans waiting outside due to a ticket disaster.
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England defeated Iran 6-2 at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, but many on social media pointed out that huge queues formed outside with Three Lions fans desperate to get inside. A BBC correspondent reported that some fans had waited two hours in the line to enter the stadium.
FIFA released a statement following the debacle to clarify the situation with the world watching.
“Some spectators are currently experiencing an issue with accessing their tickets via the FIFA ticketing app. FIFA is working on solving the issue," the statement read. “In the meantime, fans who are not able to access their mobile tickets should check the email accounts they used to register with the ticketing app for further instructions.
"In case fans cannot access their email accounts, the stadium's Ticket Resolution Point will be able to support. We thank fans for their understanding as we work to fix the issue as soon as possible.”
— Natalie Pirks (@Natpirks) November 21, 2022
Netherlands and Senegal fail to pack house in Qatar
However, this wasn't the only glaring crowd issue on Day 2 of the FIFA World Cup. There were empty seats around the stadium for the blockbuster clash between Netherlands and Senegal.
However, Qatar released the official attendance and 41,721. What made this stat more remarkable is the stadium capacity is 40,000.
Fans commented on social media that they could clearly see empty seats in the stadium and it was not close to capacity. Many pointed out the disappointment considering the Netherlands and Senegal clash in Group A was one of the biggest games of the round.
Others blasted the overall spectacle of the Qatar World Cup so far with former footballer Joey Barton labelling the scenes as a 'shame'.
The attendance for Senegal vs. Netherlands was announced as 41,721.
The official capacity of the Al Thumama Stadium stadium in Qatar is 40,000.
Here are some photos of the stands...#QatarWorldCup2022 pic.twitter.com/09jdf9TNTf
— Eurosport (@eurosport) November 21, 2022
We’re 30mins in at Al Thumama Stadium and there are still banks and rows of empty seats. This is arguably the best game of the first week, in joint-smallest venue. If they can’t sell this one out… pic.twitter.com/PsuFKS4zqK
— Joe Callaghan (@JoeCallaghan84) November 21, 2022
In the 3 World Cup 2022 matches before USA-Wales, the official attendances have been 67,372 (in a stadium with capacity of 60,000); 45,334 (in a stadium holding 40,000) and 41,721 (in a stadium holding 40,000).
Amazing, not least given all the empty seats.
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) November 21, 2022
Empty seats during a World Cup tournament is such a shame to see.
They have been everywhere in first few games. 🤦🏻♂️
— Joey Barton (@Joey7Barton) November 21, 2022
Al Thumama Stadium listed as having a 40,000 capacity in WC media guide. Despite the many empty seats, today's attendance just announced as.....41,721
— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) November 21, 2022
Lots of empty seats at the game between The Netherlands and Senegal pic.twitter.com/BYyLZ8juIC
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) November 21, 2022
A lot of empty seats for this Netherlands 🇳🇱 vs 🇸🇳 Senegal match!
I don’t remember that being the case in World Cups the past 20 years, especially for a big game like this.
Unless my memory has failed me.
— 🇺🇸Tactical Manager🇧🇷 (@ManagerTactical) November 21, 2022
Have we ever seen a World Cup with this many empty seats in the stadium?
— aa9skillz (@aa9skillz) November 21, 2022
The amount of empty seats for a World Cup match is absolutely disgraceful.
— McGinlay 🎙 (@TheRyanMcGinlay) November 21, 2022
Looks like crowds in Qatar have been taking inspiration from the Rugby League World Cup, there’s barely anyone there! Embarrassing for a FIFA World Cup to have half empty stadiums.
— Old Man Winter (@OldManWinter999) November 21, 2022
Since the numbers started circulating on social media, FIFA released a stadium capacity update. Many stadiums received a bump in capacity numbers.
On Day 1 of the FIFA World Cup, Qatar fans filed out of the stadium when they were 2-0 down to Ecuador in the opening game. While the match started with over 67,000 fans in attendance, football fans around the world were dismayed when the stadium was half-empty early in the second half.
Football broadcasts around the world showed dozens of empty seats in the stands in embarrassing scenes for FIFA and Qatar. Many on social media were also quick to point out that there weren't too many women visible in the crowd, while others brutally labelled the Qatar World Cup the 'worst ever' after just one game.
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