During the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, fans were shocked to discover that the official attendance figures for the tournament have been wildly overstated. For example, FIFA has announced that the tournament is selling three million tickets, yet has yet to release the official numbers. A large number of empty seats were also seen at the matches.
It was a bit of a surprise when FIFA announced that the Al Bayt Stadium held 60,000 people, after the venue had already announced its capacity to be 67,372. However, this is the same venue that saw Qatar lose its opening game to Ecuador by 2-0. The stadium had already announced an attendance of 67,372, yet it only appeared to be full during the half-time break.
In addition, the Al Thumama Stadium, which hosted a match between Senegal and the Netherlands, had an attendance of 41,721 – more than double its official capacity. The organisers also boasted that the Al Thumama stadium was the first in the world to hold a World Cup match in ‘event mode’, which raised the capacity to 44,400. However, photographs of the match showed that there were a number of empty seats.
The Al Thumama stadium is not the only stadium that has seen overcrowding. The Khalifas International Stadium, also located in Doha, holds 40,000, yet the official attendance for this match was 45,857. A picture of the match, which was shown on television, revealed that there were plenty of empty seats, too.
FIFA has also had to issue unofficial stadium capacity figures for the tournament. In addition to the Al Thumama Stadium, eight other venues are hosting matches. These include the Khalifas International, Ahmed bin Ali and Lusail Iconic stadiums. A number of the stadiums have been built relatively quickly, yet they are still smaller than they should be.
Qatar’s first match, against Ecuador, had an official attendance of 67,372. However, many fans are questioning the official attendance figures. It’s not the first time that FIFA has announced inflated figures for stadiums in Qatar. A few years ago, FIFA announced that eight stadiums in Qatar had increased capacity by around 12 percent. However, it’s not clear if this was due to the new seats that were installed, or simply a fudged figure.
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar kicked off on Sunday, with the first match being between Ecuador and Qatar. In the end, the two teams went head-to-head and Ecuador emerged 2-0 winners. However, the organisers of the tournament have been called out for questionable attendance at at least six of the tournament’s matches. This has led to fresh scrutiny of both FIFA and Qatar. Several people have claimed that the official attendance figures were the best-case scenario, but in reality, there are many empty seats at every game.
Despite the controversy, the World Cup is set to kick off on Sunday, and fans are eager to see what happens. Qatar has spent billions to host the event, and has a fleet of shuttle buses ready to transport fans to each match.