DOHA/ZURICH: Ticket sales for the World Cup finals in Qatar are approaching 3m as the countdown continues to the opening match at Al Bayt Stadium in just over a month’s time on 20 November.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “We have always said that Qatar will deliver the best-ever edition of the FIFA World Cup – and, as you look around the country today, at the state-of-the-art stadiums, the training pitches, the metro, the wider infrastructure, everything is ready and everyone is welcome.

“The world is excited. Qatar is ready. The stage is set. Together, we will deliver the best World Cup ever on and off the field.”

During a press conference in Doha, organisers announced a further 30,000 rooms had been made available to World Cup visitors as Qatar prepares to stage 64 matches at eight stadia.

Organisers also said 2.89 million tickets had been sold for the 64 matches. Demand has been highest among fans based in Qatar, the USA, Saudi Arabia, England, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, France, Brazil, and Germany.

Organisers have also reminded fans to apply for the mandatory Hayya Card entry permit. In addition, it will provide free public transport across the country and allow access to stadiums for fans with a valid match ticket.

The FIFA Fan Festival at Al Bidda Park will host up to 40,000 fans every day during the tournament. It will be free to attend and screen live matches, host globally renowned artists and feature football activities. There will also be a range of local and international food and beverage options.

In addition, the 6km Corniche activation from Sheraton Park to the Museum of Islamic Art will feature roving performances, retail stores and food and beverage kiosks.
Other activities will include a daily Welcome to Qatar show – a water and pyrotechnics display that will feature music from the Qatar 2022 Official Soundtrack, as well as pieces by Qatari composer Wael Binali and compositions performed by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.

Theme-park rides and other attractions at Al Maha Island Lusail will also be open to fans, as will the Ras Abu Aboud 974 Beach Club, the Hayya Fan Zone at Lusail South Promenade and the QetaiFAN Beach Fest. Dance music fans can dance the night away at the 15,000-capacity Arcadia Spectacular and 5,000-capacity ARAVIA by MDLBEAST. In addition, Last-Mile Cultural Activations will offer more than 6,000 performances in 21 locations, entertaining fans on their way to stadiums.

Colin Smith, FIFA’s coo, explained: “We operate over 168 official sites through the compact nature of Qatar. Way beyond testing the eight stadiums, the volunteers and accreditation centres are now fully operational, with the ticketing centre at the DECC opening tomorrow and the IBC and Main Media Centre to follow.”

Nasser Al Khater, the local World Cup organiser ceo, said: “Qatar is ready to host a global celebration of the beautiful game. We look forward to welcoming fans and players from across the world as they sample our welcoming hospitality, vast array of entertainment options and, of course, top-class international football.

“It promises to be a unique edition of the FIFA World Cup – and one that will leave a lasting, positive impact on Qatar, the Middle East and the Arab world.”