On Sunday, vacant seats could be seen throughout the Lusail Stadium as Argentina and France fought out one of the most exciting World Cup championship matches in history.
Although the stadium could hold 88,966 people, it was plainly less than full when kickoff rolled around, yet spectators trickled in as Lionel Messi’s team’s nail-biting penalty shootout victory continued.
Despite widespread international coverage of the competition, games in Qatar were rarely fully attended, with most stadiums having at least a few vacant seats.
One fan remarked that it appeared as though there were “a lot of individuals dressed like empty seats at the World Cup final” due to the turnout at the event.
Another person said that the attendance “exploded the fiction that Qatar is football mad” and that it was “embarrassing for Qatar, embarrassing for FIFA.”
A humiliation and a harsh description of the crowd were also given in light of the support Argentina had received throughout the competition.
‘Surely this has to be a first – World Cup final with large quantity of empty seats in the stadium,’ tweeted DIY SOS star and TV host Nick Knowles. Farcical,’ however he later acknowledged that given the number of spectators wearing white, the same color as the chairs, it would have appeared more empty.
Some blamed FIFA’s mechanism for allocating tickets for the low turnout, but they later admitted it was “hugely embarrassing.”
A few football supporters blamed “corporate hospitality” and defended the attendance, saying that it was typical of many sporting events and that “the same thing happens at Wembley for the FA Cup final.”