Hundreds of fans were left stranded off the ground, with Fifa advising them to visit “Ticketing Resolution Points” or check their emails as kick-off came and went
The Football Association (FA) had to scramble to ensure English fans could even enter the stadium for their World Cup opener against Iran after the ticketing app malfunctioned just minutes before kick-off.
The Khalifa International Stadium, which officially seats 40,000, was hundreds more empty than expected as Gareth Southgate’s side played their first Group B game of the tournament.
The game didn’t sell out despite England playing in their smallest stadium for a first World Cup game since 1990, but hundreds of fans found themselves stranded outside the stadium after tickets disappeared from the official app.
“Some viewers are currently having a problem accessing their tickets via the Fifa ticketing app,” said an official statement shortly before kick-off.
“FIFA is working to resolve the issue. In the meantime, fans who are unable to access their mobile tickets should check the email accounts they used to register with the ticketing app for further instructions.”
I understands that supporter groups and the FA were involved in efforts to resolve the situation and that the majority of supporters made it past the perimeter of the stadium, but that many were still unable to close the stadium entered when the game started at 4:00 p.m. local time.
Tickets depend on Bluetooth and location services being on, but the system fell down for hundreds stuck off the ground. One confirmed it I He had been waiting outside the stadium for over two hours, where there was a heavy police and volunteer presence on the premises, with tight security checks resulting in queues even three hours before kick-off.
Fans queuing to get into the stadium had to go through a rigorous security process that checked shirts, masks and bags. There have even been reports of sunscreen being confiscated. But as kick-off came and went, the stewards began waving fans through without even checking their QR code.