FIFA have attempted to offer clarification as the confusion over stadium capacities at the World Cup continues to grow.
Ever since Qatar kicked off the competition against Ecuador last weekend, fans and commentators have been observing vast swathes of empty seats in stadiums during the majority of World Cup matches.
Many have been quick to attribute this to a lack of interest in a World Cup hosted by Qatar, a feeling which was exacerbated by fans leaving in droves at half-time in that opening fixture.
To clear things up, FIFA have issued a statement claiming that attendance has been around 94% since the tournament began.
“Official figures show that the average overall match attendance stands at an impressive 94 per cent compared to stadium capacities for the event,” a FIFA statement said.
“The highest match attendance of the tournament was the game at Lusail Stadium on 24 November, with 88,103 there to see Brazil beat Serbia 2-0.”
FIFA also attempted to clarify official attendance figures released throughout the competition, which have suggested that the number of attendees has exceeded the capacity of the various stadiums built to host the tournament.
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“Earlier in the week, FIFA also clarified the official capacities and tournament requirements for each of the eight stadiums,” the statement said.
“While FIFA requests that venues hosting the final match, opening game and semi-finals can host a minimum of 80,000 and 60,000 spectators respectively, the magnificent Lusail Stadium can accommodate 88,966 spectators, while Al Bayt Stadium can host up to 68,895 fans.
“For all other matches, a minimum 40,000-seater capacity is required, with the demountable Stadium 974 being the most compact of all Qatar 2022 venues (44,089).
“The capacity figures for the tournament have been finalised after all operational arrangements were made – from the final seating map to temporary infrastructure to accommodate media, broadcasters, and guests.
“It was also explained that capacities for specific matches such as opening and final may vary slightly, and that figures for legacy mode are different and provided by the Host Country.”