Qatar announce dubious World Cup attendance figures despite thousands of empty seats


    DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 21: Empty seats during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group A match between Senegal and Netherlands at Al Thumama Stadium on November 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
    A large number of empty seats were seen during Netherlands’ win over Senegal (AMA/Getty)

    Qatar and FIFA are under fresh scrutiny after thousands of empty seats were seen in Monday’s World Cup matches.

    There is also bemusement at the official attendance figures as every game so far has a record which is higher than the capacity of the stadium.

    For Qatar’s tournament curtain-raiser against Ecuador on Sunday, an official attendance of 67,372 was announced, despite the Al Bayt Stadium having a capacity of 60,000, while a significant number of empty seats were alsoevident from the half-time break.

    It was the same for England’s World Cup opener against Iran, which saw Three Lions supporters left stuck outside the Khalifa International Stadium due to an error with FIFA’s ticketing app.

    An attendance figure for that match was announced at 45,334, despite the stadium’s official capacity being 40,000.

    DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 21: Empty seats are seen among fans during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and IR Iran at Khalifa International Stadium on November 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
    Ticketing issues led to empty seats for England’s World Cup opener against Iran (Getty)
    Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group A - Qatar v Ecuador - Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar - November 20, 2022 General view of empty seats during the match REUTERS/Molly Darlington
    The Al Bayt Stadium was full of empty seats during Qatar’s defeat to Ecuador (Reuters)

    WORLD CUP 2022 ATTENDANCE FIGURES

    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)

    Meanwhile, swathes of empty seats could be seen at the Al Thumama Stadium in the second game of the day on Monday as Netherlands beat Senegal.

    An official attendance of 41,721 was announced even though the stadium has an official capacity of 40,000.

    Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group A - Senegal v Netherlands - Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar - November 21, 2022 General view of empty seats amongst fans during the match REUTERS/Molly Darlington
    Netherlands’ win over Senegal did not look even remotely close to capacity (Reuters)
    Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group A - Senegal v Netherlands - Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar - November 21, 2022 General view of empty seats amongst fans during the match REUTERS/Matthew Childs
    Empty seats were dotted all around the stadium as Netherlands beat Senegal (Reuters)

    FIFA claims that the Al Thumama Stadium in ‘event mode’ raises its capacity to 44,400, but a reason for the thousands of empty seats around the venue was not given.

    For Wales’ 1-1 draw with USA, an attendance figure of 43,418 was given, but once again, the stadium’s official capacity is 40,000.

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