Mobile app issues are being blamed for spectators being locked out at some FIFA World Cup matches, with tournament officials “working on solving the issue” according to a tweet posted to the official FIFA Media account on Monday. Fans for at least two contests – England vs. Iran and USA vs. Wales, both of which took place Monday at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) November 21, 2022
According to reports, fans said tickets that were in the mobile-only system disappeared from their apps, causing a huge backup at entry gates. Some fans indicated that their entire alotment of tickets for the tournament had disappeared, not just Monday’s games.
“All the tickets I have have disappeared,” Avinash Fernando of Sri Lanka told The Associated Press. He and a friend, Chathura Perera, each had seven tickets for the tournament vanish. Another fan, who gave only his first name Farhood, said his tickets had gone. “I don’t have them anymore on the app. It might have been a hacker, I’m not sure,” he said.
Fans were stuck outside until after the games began, and it is unclear if FIFA officials were able to resolve the issue, or if the fans were simply let in without tickets to keep things moving.
Many took to social media to vent their frustration about the ticketing snafu at what is typically billed as the largest sporting event in the world, and one where the ticketing is tightly controlled, with resale so restricted that multiple arrests have reportedly been made against individuals who have allegedly attempted to resell passes to events in Qatar.
This is the situation outside the Khalifa right now pic.twitter.com/ygnwCR25Fo
— Matt Lawton (@Lawton_Times) November 21, 2022
I’m in Qatar trying to get into the England Iran match. I along with about 500 other people cannot get in because our tickets have vanished from the fifa app. Won’t accept email confirmation and no one is willing to help. #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/im8iIyxdOF
— Ali Azarian (@AlianoStaliano) November 21, 2022
Many also vented their anger in the thread below the FIFA Media tweet above announcing the issues:
Trouble is that the app didn’t work, you still haven’t sent the promised email (5 hours later), the TRPs at the stadium only have 1 window open, not one member of staff knows what they’re doing. It’s chaos. pic.twitter.com/rYN5bw0ifK
— Lewis (@lewisdg88) November 21, 2022
Mobile-only ticketing systems have become the norm for many events, as operators can harvest massive consumer data from their usage, generating additional revenue from marketing opportunities for partners or outright sale of that data to partners. But issues such as those experienced this week have also been regular, snarling lines at major events, even including this year’s Super Bowl in California, and the UEFA Champions League Final in France. At that tournament, major lines were caused by ticketing issues, with police then tear gassing some fans waiting outside the venue, while officials attempted to blame fans who showed up without tickets – though the real number who showed up ticketless was actually a fraction of what was initially alleged, prompting backlash from Liverpool fans.
The World Cup continues in Qatar throughout this month and into December, with its final scheduled for December 18.
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Last Updated on November 22, 2022 by Dave Clark