‘Arhbo’: FIFA sells 2.45mn World Cup tickets as Qatar gears up to welcome visitors

FIFA announced in July 1.8 million tickets had been sold, out of a total three million tickets which will be available for this year’s World Cup.

With less than 100 days to witness the commencement of one of the world’s biggest sports events, FIFA says it has sold 2.45 million tickets for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar due to be held in November.

More than 500,000 seats are still available as the major tournament inches in closer by the day.

As the host of the first Middle Eastern and Arab World Cup, Qatar is set to witness an influx of visitors from across the world with reported statistics of 1.4 million incoming supporters for the month-long tournament.

The latest phase of ticket sales, which lasted from 5 July to 16 August, witnessed more than 520,000 tickets being sold. Brazil’s games against Serbia and Cameroon were among the most in-demand.

The countries which have requested the most ticket applications to date include the host nation Qatar as well as the United States, England, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, France, Argentina, Brazil and Germany.

Tickets sales are now placed on hold, with an update expected later in September regarding the last round of sales.

The 64-game sporting event, due to he held across eight state-of-the-art stadiums in and around Doha, kicks off on November 20, with a total capacity of approximately three million tickets available.

The global football governing body said in early August the event will begin on 20 November instead of the initially scheduled date of 21 November to allow host nation Qatar to unravel the World Cup following the opening ceremony.

The planned Senegal versus Netherlands game will continue as scheduled on 21 November, but has been pushed to a later evening slot.

Second FIFA official single

FIFA on Saturday released the tournament’s second official single, dubbed “Arhbo”. The song features Congolese-French rapper Gims and Latin Grammy-winning Puerto Rican artist Ozuna. The single’s film director is Kuwaiti artist Jassim Abdullah Al Harban.

As of now, the track is only available on FIFA’s official YouTube channel, however it is set to be released across all music streaming platforms on 26 August, FIFA confirmed.

The song echoes the Arabic word ‘Arhbo’ which translates to “welcome”, encapsulating the tournament’s first experience in an Arab country and the host country’s readiness to host supporters across the world.

This sentiment was further emboldened by the country’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who has on several occasions expressed his country’s interest in showcasing its hospitality and the historic culture of the Arab world.

It is the first time that the tournament’s soundtrack will feature a multi-song collection, with international artists showcasing diverse musical genres and languages.

‘Hayya Hayya (Better Together)’, which has garnered around 16 million views on YouTube, features Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Aisha. The first official FIFA single culminates an R&B and reggae infusion.

Daily shuttle flights

In a bid to ease on the compact-nature of this year’s world, daily shuttle flights have been provided between Qatar and its neighbouring countries.

Qatar Airways announced in May its partnership with regional airlines to enable World Cup 2022 ticket holders to travel into the Gulf country and back from countries in the region just for the day during the entirety of the tournament.

The announcement included an extra 30 daily rotation flights between Dubai and Doha, operated by flydubai, 10 daily rotation flights between Kuwait City and Doha, operated by Kuwait Airways, 24 daily rotation flights between Muscat and Doha, operated by Oman Air, and 20 daily rotation flights between Riyadh and Jeddah to Doha.

This brings the total to more than 160 daily flights for football fans based in Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Through the Match Day Shuttle flight option, supporters will arrive to Doha in the morning and depart in the evening, with no hotel accommodation required.

A no check-in baggage policy will also be available to simplify an easy-in, easy-out travel itinerary for the passengers.

flydubai will be able to bring 2,500 passengers per day, while Oman Air will be able to transport 3,400 fans. Kuwait Airways has committed to transporting as many as 1,700 fans, while Saudia will use larger aircraft to facilitate 5,000 fans from Riyadh and Jeddah.

In addition to the World Cup shuttle flights, airlines will continue to operate normal scheduled flights to Doha.

These flights will add to the current estimate of the CO2 emissions during the tournament.

Climate activists argue the extra shuttle flight plan poses an issue to the tournament’s sustainability mission.

Billed as the ‘first carbon-neutral’ World Cup, this year’s tournament is set in a relatively small destination. In a September press release, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said one of the benefits of hosting the World Cup was “the compact nature” of Qatar.

The short proximity between stadiums would dismantle the need for domestic air travel by supporters and reduce the carbon footprint of the tournament. It went on to say air travel is “recognised as one of the world’s largest sources of carbon emissions”.

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