1.2 million World Cup tickets sold, say the organizers

FIFA World Cup Trophy (included)

Around 1.2 million tickets were sold for this year’s World Cup in Qatar, the organizers announced on Wednesday and gave a sales figure for the first time.

Chief organizer Hassan Al-Thawadi said there had been “record-breaking” demand for the November-December World Cup, the first to be held in the Middle East.

“I think about 1.2 million tickets have already been bought,” he told the Qatar Economic Forum.

“So people are actually buying and people are looking forward to going there. There is no doubt about that.”

The number was confirmed by representatives of the organizing committee, who said there were about 40 million inquiries over the two phases of the online sale.

Two million tickets are sold, another million are reserved for the world association FIFA and sponsors.

The Qatari capital of Doha, with around 2.4 million inhabitants, is arming itself for the enormous influx of visitors with scarce hotel accommodation.

The 32-team tournament will be played in eight stadiums in and around the capital, putting a significant strain on infrastructure.

Qatar says there will be 130,000 rooms in hotels, apartments, cruise ships and desert camps with 1,000 traditional tents. It promised shared rooms for only $85 a night.

To limit the number of fans, only people with playing cards will be allowed into the tiny, gas-rich country during the World Cup, officials announced last month.

More than 160 round-trip shuttle flights per day will attract fans from neighboring countries and ease pressure on accommodation, while capacity at Doha’s two international airports has been doubled.

But Al-Thawadi admitted it has been “difficult” to rein in accommodation prices, which are skyrocketing in line with demand.

“(We want to) avoid price gouging,” he said. “Of course, market forces always cause prices to explode as long as demand is high.

“We’re trying to create an environment that benefits the business community, but is also affordable and accessible for the fans.”

Al-Thawadi also downplayed the prospect of protests in Qatar after constantly voicing criticism of the treatment of foreign workers in a country with the world’s highest GDP per capita.

He didn’t say whether protests would be allowed in Qatar, where demonstrations are rare, or whether fans could wave the rainbow flag representing the LGBTQ community.

“Everyone is welcome. But if we appreciate where you’re from, we have a very rich culture. We ask people to respect our culture,” he said.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and authorities are struggling to convince lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer fans that they are safe.

1.2 million World Cup tickets sold, say the organizers

Source link 1.2 million World Cup tickets sold, say the organizers

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