England fans endured chaotic scenes outside the Khalifa stadium after their tickets disappeared from the FIFA app on their mobile phones.
Thousands of fans queued in the searing heat as they stared at their mobile phones wondering why their electronic tickets had disappeared.
England fans then received an email from FIFA which contained a QR code to allow them to enter the stadium to watch their team take on Iran today.
England fans endured chaotic scenes outside the Khalifa stadium after their tickets disappeared from the FIFA app on their mobile phones. Pictured: England fans arrive at the stadium prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and IR Iran at Khalifa International Stadium on November 21
Most tickets for games at the tournament are electronic.
Footage from outside the stadium showed several fans still queuing to get in, while inside, there were thousands of empty seats.
Despite the issues, kick off went ahead as planned at 4pm (1pm GMT).
In a statement, Fifa acknowledged the issue with their app, and said it was working to solve it. It advised fans to check their emails to access mobile tickets, and failing that, for fans to go to the stadium’s Ticket Resolution Point.
“Some spectators are currently experiencing an issue with accessing their tickets via the FIFA Ticketing app,” the statement said. ‘FIFA is working on solving 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.
In case fans cannot access their email accounts, the stadium’s Ticket Resolution Point will be able to support. We thank the fans for their understanding as we work to fix the issue as soon as possible,’ said Fifa’s statement.
Angry fans labeled FIFA a farce claiming that the technical glitch had spoiled their fun of the pre-match build up.
Sanjay Puri, 36 from Birmingham fumed: ‘It’s a joke. You would have thought that FIFA would have their IT in order. How has something like this happened?’
Paul Sims, 40 who had traveled from Dubai said: ‘I was outside the stadium and about to use my electronic ticket but then a message appeared saying it wasn’t working.
‘Luckily I got an email with a QR code but I had to wait more than an hour to get in.’
Further chaos resulted from stadium security that everyone is scanned along with fan identity cards to ensure it belongs to the right person.
Security also confiscated items like sun cream, sweets and snacks, further causing delays and annoying fans.
News of the ticket issues came after Sportsmail reported that FIFA has abandoned plans to stage an opening ceremony before every game of the World Cup on the instructions of Qatar’s Supreme Committee.
Pictured: Fans of England cheer as they arrive for the FIFA World Cup 2022 group B soccer match between England and Iran at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha today
Pictured: The inside of the Khalifa International Stadium is seen before kick-off
Pictured: England’s players warm up in Doha ahead of their Group B clash with Iran
FIFA has abandoned plans to stage an opening ceremony before every game of the World Cup on the instructions of Qatar’s Supreme Committee. Pictured: Sunday night’s opening ceremony to the 2022 World Cup, ahead of the first match between Qatar and Ecuador
The lavish 30-minute ceremony fronted by Morgan Freeman at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday evening was widely criticized for hypocrisy and tokenism in Europe due to FIFA’s attempt to promote supposedly universal human values, with the BBC refusing to screen it on their main channels, and plans for the rest of the tournament have now been scaled down.
FIFA had planned and rehearsed similar ceremonies for each of the World Cup’s 64 matches, but Sportsmail has learned that the Supreme Committee has now taken over the delivery of match-day events which as a result will be more limited.
Instead of a lengthy pre-match show a shorter two-minute ceremony featuring a large replica World Cup and the flags of each of the 32 competing nations will take place ahead of the first game held at each of the eight tournament stadiums, although FIFA insiders said that this plan is also subject to a possible late change.
The 11th-hour rearrangements at a World Cup which has been 12 years in the planning have been a feature of the first tournament to be held in the Gulf region, and have raised questions as to who is actually in charge.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino insisted at the weekend that he was ‘200 per cent’ in control of the event, but FIFA’s decision to withdraw alcohol sales from stadiums at the last minute following a request from the Supreme Committee suggested otherwise.
Dancers perform with puppets of previous World Cup mascots at Sunday night’s opening ceremony at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha
FIFA had planned and rehearsed similar ceremonies for each of the World Cup’s 64 matches, but Sportsmail has learned that the Supreme Committee have now taken over the delivery of match-day events which as a result will be more limited
In further embarrassment for FIFA, the opening game of the World Cup on Sunday evening saw thousands of seats empty during the match, as spectators watching the first-round clash between the host nation and Ecuador left early.
The Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, which can hold up to 60,000 people, had thousands of empty seats approaching full-time as Qatari fans left before the final whistle.
Emtpy seats were also present during the opening ceremony, and while the stadium appeared to fill up in time for kick-off, they could be seen again during the second half of the match, with many spectators choosing to leave early.
The match saw Ecuador beat the hosts 2-0, with captain Enner Valencia scoring both goals for the South Americans, who were cheered on by their traveling support.
The loss, coupled with the empty seats, will spark concerns about enthusiasm for the tournament in the country, which has a population of less than three million (of which just 300,000 are Qatari citizens) and is roughly half the size of Wales.
There were empty seats among fans in the stadium during the opening match of the tournament between Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday night
There were plenty of empty seats in the stadium in Al Khor as the hosts fell to a 2-0 defeat to the South American team
It is estimated that the country has spent £184 billion bidding to host the event and building seven new stadiums, all of which can hold at least 40,000 people.
In the country’s capital of Doha, 30 miles to the south, the streets were largely quiet, although there were chaotic scenes both inside and outside the fan festival at Al Bidda Park an hour before kick-off after organizers allowed too many fans to flood the precinct.
The World Cup, which has been plagued with controversy over the Middle Eastern country’s treatment of foreign workers, LGBT+ rights and social restrictions, has been seen by Qataris as a way of varnishing its image on the world stage.
The nation has denied accusations of abuse of workers and discrimination, but that did not stop the BBC’s coverage, fronted by Gary Lineker, including a pre-packaged report on Qatar’s questionable human rights record and the controversy surrounding the tournament, instead of showing the opening ceremony.
It follows accusations about fake ‘fans’ being hired by the Qatari regime in order to hype up crowds by supporting various nations, which the country strongly denies.
Rows of empty seats were seen in the stands before the final whistle during the opening match between Ecuador and Qatar tonight
Pictured: A general view of the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2022 group A Opening Match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, November 20
In an embarrassing moment for FIFA organizers they were forced to allow a ban on alcohol sales at games after the Qatari royal family put pressure on the body due to the country’s strict ban on drinking in public.
FIFA had previously charged Budweiser a reported £63 million for a sponsorship deal giving them a beer monopoly on the tournament – but much of this could now go to waste due to the last-minute rule change.
It came just 48 hours before the start of the tournament and left fans livid, accusing the host nation of ‘ruining’ the world cup before it had even started.
Fans can now only purchase alcohol in select hotels and bars of the FIFA fan zone, but here can only purchase four pints for a costly £12.50 each.
On Saturday the shaky start to the tournament was prevented by FIFA boss Gianni Infantino giving a rambling and bizarre press conference in which he condemned critics of the host nation.
He claimed that he felt like a ‘woman’, a ‘migrant worker’, ‘gay’, a ‘Qatari’, an ‘Asian’ and various other identities, which sparked furious reaction online given the focus on the rights of women and minorities groups in the country.