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Qatar World Cup 2022: FIFA crowd numbers, stadium capacity, empty seats, Morocco vs Croatia

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The football world has once again called Qatar out for a blatant lie over crowd numbers at their matches.

On the opening two match days of the tournament, eyebrows were raised and conspiracy theories launched as official attendances came in well higher than the capacity of the stadiums the matches were played in.

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And this was despite thousands of empty seats, as seen in images taken during the middle of matches.

Qatar’s latest whopper came after suggesting the 68,895-capacity Al Bayt Stadium was near full for last night’s Morocco-Croatia game.

Despite the image in the tweet below showing more empty seats than filled seats, the organisers claimed 59,407 fans were in attendance.

While the red Moroccan jerseys blended into the seats, it was clear there were more than 10,000 empty seats around the ground.

Call it insecurity or overcompensating but the reported attendances are clearly nowhere near reality.

Both Qatar and FIFA have a lot riding on this event, which has been plagued by claims of corruption and human rights abuses in the small Middle Eastern nation.

Before the event, FIFA boss Gianni Infantino defended the staging of the tournament.

“It’s not easy every day to read all these critics of decisions that were taken 10 years ago when none of us was there,” he said.

“Now everyone knows we have to make the best out of it and make the best World Cup ever.

“Doha is ready, Qatar is ready, it will be the best World Cup ever, of course.”

FIFA has given an explanation of the discrepancies via the BBC’s Rachel Burden.

Burden tweeted FIFA had claimed to her “capacity figure is the reference capacity that meets the FIFA requirements. The final capacity during event mode is higher (hence the mismatch).”

For the record, the capacities are:

— Lusail Stadium — Official: 80,000, Event: 88,966

— Al Bayt Stadium — Official: 60,000, Event: 68,895

— Al Janoub Stadium — Official: 40,000, Event: 44,325

— Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium — Official: 40,000, Event: 45,032

— Khalifa International Stadium — Official: 40,000, Event: 45,857

— Education City Stadium — Official: 40,000, Event: 44,667

— Stadium 974 — Official: 40,000, Event: 44,089

— Al Thumama Stadium — Official: 40,000, Event: 44,400

Also, FIFA are being sneaky, counting the number of tickets sold rather than those actually in attendance.

It further exposes the Netherlands-Senegal match on the second match day where a figure of 41,721 was cited, although fans were at pains to point out the abundance of empty seats in the stands.

It comes after 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.

Qatar became the first host nation to lose its World Cup opener in the 92-year history of the tournament.

The country has spent a reported $356 billion to stage the tournament, including $10 billion on its eight stadiums and a further $54 billion on a rail transport network to connect them all.

It has only given air to previous speculation Qatar has paid “fake fans” to make public displays of support for various national teams.

Video captured in Qatar in the days leading up to the opening ceremony showed groups of so-called supporters gathering in public to cheer on their team. Cynical commentators have suggested the displays were not exactly convincing.

The tournament has stated more than one million fans from around the globe will visit Qatar during the tournament.

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