There’s something odd happening as one streamed the World Cup when it started on the 20th of November and notice that there are a lot of vacant seats. This is quite odd as the tickets to the World Cup have been very difficult to book even weeks before the event began.
This brings to question, yet again, how Qatar is transparent in hosting the World Cup 2022. There seems to be a continuous influx of issues that are either swept under the rug or dodged to be directly addressed with a final truthful response to clear things up and help everyone move forward and really enjoy the games — not worry about bumping into yet another questionable situation.
A running total of 17,000 fans are missing from the event and this brings the Qatar committee in charge of the World Cup to respond and quell the persistent rumours that have befuddled and beleaguered the event that millions around the world are watching.
It is quite an unhealthy atmosphere of having conspiracy theories run rampant even to the official number of attendees who love the game. Even the photos coming out from Tuesday morning’s matches are enough to fuel these tittle-tattle — hopefully, so — from becoming the truth to what fans are speculating on.
So far, in the four matches that have been played in the tourney, the official crowds listed in all these matches are well above the official capacity for each of the venues. The grandstands during the middle of the matches have also shown vacant seats, ergo, thousands of missing fans.
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The expected, and official, crowd announced for these matches has been:
- Qatar vs Ecuador – 67,372 – official capacity of Al Bayt Stadium is 60,000
- England vs Iran – 45,334 – official capacity of Khalifa International Stadium is 40,000
- Netherlands vs Senegal – 41,721 – official capacity of Al Thumama Stadium is 40,000
- USA vs Wales – 43,418 – official capacity of Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium is 40,000
These figures should show that the stadiums are beyond their capacity and should be jampacked with the fans cheering on their teams. It is, oddly, not. Qatar World Cup officials have not addressed the matter.
Empty Seats surrounding the considerably sparse crowd
Global news media can’t help but reveal the news on this matter. For example, The Sun reports that there were 41,721 spectators who had attended the game but these have had fans chuckling on social media.
This was coming from the embarrassing sight of Qatari fans walking out during the second half of the team’s loss to Ecuador, leaving sections of the grandstands looking grim. Another dampening piece of news to add to this would be that Qatar is the first host nation to lose its World Cup opener in the 92-year history of the tournament.
Glaringly, Qatar has spent a reported USD356 billion to stage the tournament, including USD10 billion on its eight stadiums and a further USD54 billion on a rail transport network to connect them all.
There were prior rife speculations — months before the World Cup opening — that Qatar has paid “fake fans” to make public displays of support for various national teams. Videos of these gatherings showed groups of “fans” gathering in public and cheering on their team. Topping that is the official press release that there are more than one million fans from around the globe who will visit Qatar during the tourney.
Ralf Rangnick, Austrian manager and former Manchester United boss expressed most of the fans’ sentiments saying, “These are wonderful destinations, also with real fans with atmosphere — unlike now. You don’t need to buy fans for anyone to support you, they are automatically there already.”
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Qatar Stadiums Hosting the World Cup 2022
Location: Al Khor, 35km north of Doha
Gross capacity: 68,895
Matches planned: Opening match and all matches through to the semi-finals
Location: Umm Al Afaei, 20km west of central Doha
Gross capacity: 45,032
Matches planned: Group matches, a round of 16
Location: Al Wakrah, 22km south of central Doha
Gross capacity: 44,325
Matches planned: Group matches and a round of 16
Location: Aspire, 5km west of central Doha
Gross capacity: 45,857
Matches planned: Group matches, a round of 16, and a play-off for third place game
Location: Education City in Al Rayyan, 7km north-west of central Doha
Gross capacity: 44,667
Matches planned: Group matches, a round of 16 and quarter-finals
Location: Lusail, 20km north of central Doha
Gross capacity: 88,966
Matches planned: All matches through to the final match
Location: Ras Abu Aboud, 10km east of central Doha
Gross capacity: 44,089
Matches planned: Group matches and a round of 16
Location: Al Thumama, 12km south of central Doha
Gross capacity: 44,400
Matches planned: Group matches, a round of 16, and quarter-finals
There you go! Looks like the World Cup 2022 is also swimming in a flurry of reactionary news and views even after the opening. Hopefully, the fans will simply be there and cheer on despite the less-than-expected crowd that is usually seen in any match when it’s the World Cup at stake. Any thoughts, reactions or feedback on this? I honestly think it can dampen one’s spirit if the cheering isn’t really there and heartfelt. Hope to hear from everyone.