There is no doubt that Qatar has really put on a show at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with the edition touted to be “the best ever” by the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, truly living up to its billing.
From the excellent infrastructure delivered to the teams, to the 20.000 volunteers that ensure everything is working smoothly, things have been working perfectly throughout the first-ever edition of the FIFA World Cup organised in the Middle East.
With the group phase finished and 48 games from the 64 scheduled in the eight venues in Qatar elapsed, FIFA announced its first batch of statistics regarding the attendance in the competition, which prove once again that Qatar 2022 has passed the eye test.
The tournament has been a resounding success, with no stone left unturned for the fans to enjoy themselves both in the stadiums, during the matches, and outside of them, in the FIFA Fan Festivals and throughout all of Qatar.
“It’s been a fantastic World Cup, with groundbreaking figures and memorable moments both on and off the pitch. Fans are having an amazing time in Doha, and the whole world is following with excitement on TV as new records as set every day. What some saw as a challenge, we saw as an opportunity. Teams, media, and spectators are enjoying more matches, more festivals, more football, more fun – the compact footprint is comfortably addressing the influx of visitors through state-of-the-art infrastructure and thorough operational plans,” said the FIFA COO for the World Cup, Colin Smith.
According to FIFA, a cumulative stadium attendance of 2.45 million spectators was registered during the first 48 matches, which corresponds to a 96% occupancy and is higher than the corresponding 2.17 million figure for the 2018 edition. It was the second highest cumulative total ever, only behind the record set at the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Qatar 2022 also set a premiere, as the game between Argentina and Mexico, won by Lionel Messi’s side, 2-0, was attended by 88.966 fans, the biggest attendance since the 1994 FIFA World Cup final between Brazil and Italy, where 94.194 fans saw the game on the “Rose Bowl” in Pasadena, California, USA.
With 16 games still to be played at Qatar 2022, it is likely that the all-time record for attendance at the FIFA World Cup, set in 1994, when 3.57 million people saw at least one game in the USA, will be broken by the end of the tournament.
But 16 sets of fans were definitely the happiest, with their teams progressing to the Round of 16, with all the continents represented in the knockout phase of the competition for the first time in history.
“The outcome of the group stage shows the extent to which more countries have acquired the tools to compete at the highest level. This is the result of better preparation and analysis of the opponents, which is also a reflection of more equal access to technology. It is very much in line with FIFA’s efforts to increase football’s competitiveness on a global scale,” said FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, Arsène Wenger.
The most compact FIFA World Cup since the inaugural edition in 1930 – with all eight stadiums spread in a radius of 50 kilometres – is also benefiting fans, teams, and media representatives, with the option of attending several matches and entertainment activities per day, while operations continue to run smoothly. During the group stage, the Doha Metro and Lusail Tram networks notched up 9.19 million trips, with a daily average of 707,032 passengers, a new record for the infrastructure projects tailor-made for this edition of the FIFA World Cup and inaugurated in the last three years.
“Together with the host country, we are constantly monitoring and addressing any situation that arises, but the figures already achieved and the fans celebrating together in a joyful and peaceful way throughout this group stage speak for themselves – we are on track to deliver a successful and unforgettable FIFA World Cup,” added the FIFA COO for the World Cup, Colin Smith.