There were almost 10,000 seats officially empty at Morocco’s dour draw with Croatia – the worst attended match of the 2022 Qatar World Cup match so far.

More than one in 10 fans also failed to show up for Belgium’s 1-0 victory over Canada and Cameroon’s 1-0 defeat to Switzerland.

There has been plenty of criticism around empty seats at this World Cup, and numbers show none of the fixtures were completely full.

However, opening matches for the likes of Brazil, Argentina and England were only short of capacity by well under 1,000.

Fifa said in a statement on Friday that official figures show  the average overall match attendance is at 94 per cent.

The best crowd so far has been the 88,103 watching Brazil beat Serbia 2-0 at the Lusail Stadium. On the same day, the Fifa Fan Festival said it had welcomed 98,000 fans throughout the day.

In the less well attended matches, such as Spain’s opening fixture, there have been reports of organisers letting some locals in for free at half-time.

Three days after the tournament began, organisers increased official stadium sizes as venues were exceeding previously stated capacities.

The new numbers – which suggests some venues have increased by up to 12 per cent – also partly explains some lower-than-expect turnouts at matches.

Fifa said in a statement: “The capacity figures for the tournament have been finalised after all operational arrangements were made – from the final seating map to temporary infrastructure to accommodate media, broadcasters, and guests. It was also explained that capacities for specific matches such as opening and final may vary slightly, and that figures for legacy mode are different and provided by the host country.”

More tickets were said to have been made available ahead of the event as it emerged the broadcasters would need less than expected room.

One issue for fans appears to be cost, with studies showing this tournament is 40 per cent more expensive for match tickets compared Russia 2018.

Tickets for the final cost an eye-watering £684 on average. While fans in Russia paid an average of £214 for a seat, tickets to matches in Qatar cost an average £286, according to a study by Keller Sports.

What are the stadiums like?

The eight stadiums that will host the 2022 Qatar World Cup are eye-catching, to say the least.

One of the stadiums is made of shipping containers while another is intended to resemble traditional Middle Eastern headgear. 

While they are striking in design, the eight venues – the fewest since the 16-team 1978 World Cup in Argentina – are a logistical relief for fans attending arguably the most controversial World Cup ever.

That is because the eight stadiums are all within 21 miles of central Doha and will be linked by a metro and tram system, making it possible to watch more than one game in the same day.

Some grounds are powered by solar farms and equipped with cooling systems to battle the heat, while others have outdoor air-conditioning. And once the tournament is said and done days before Christmas, only one stadium will be called home to a football team: the Khalifia International Stadium. 

The others will be either dismantled completely (in the cast of Stadium 974) or reduced in capacity and repurposed as hotels, community spaces or smaller sporting facilities.

How many stadiums will host the event? 

Eight stadiums will host the 32 teams from the opening game on November 20 to the final on December 18. 

The opening game kick off at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, while the finalists will head to Doha a month later to play at the Lusail Stadium.

Lusail Iconic Stadium

Pre-tournament capacity: 80,000
Tournament capacity: 88,966

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