DOHA: The AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ has set a total attendance record of 1.06 million after 63,753 passionate fans packed the Al Bayt Stadium to witness defending champions Qatar emerge victorious over Palestine in the Round of 16.

The 18th edition of Asia’s crown jewel officially surpassed the previous spectatorship record of 1.04 million that was set nearly two decades ago when the showpiece was held in China in 2004.

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) General Secretary Datuk Seri Windsor John said: “From the very beginning, we knew that the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ would take its place as the most accessible and engaging edition in the tournament’s history. Football has the undeniable power to unite communities and nowhere is that more palpable than right here in Qatar on Asia’s most prestigious stage.

“This achievement is a tribute to our passionate fans and our dear friends from the Qatar Football Association and the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ Local Organising Committee, and the AFC would like to extend our deep sense of gratitude to all our stakeholders and the people of Qatar for their unrivalled and warm hospitality.”

For Jassim Al Jassim, CEO of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ Local Organising Committee (LOC), record breaking attendances are a testament to Qatar’s ability to host world class sporting events: “Once again, Qatar has reaffirmed its place as a global sporting capital. Our modern infrastructure and operational experience have enabled us to deliver yet another accessible and culturally engaging tournament to the highest standards.”

He added: “We’re delighted to be setting records this early in the tournament. With 11 matches still to go, the best is yet to come, with many teams showcasing exceptional performances.”

After 40 matches, the Asian Cup finals, which recently also eclipsed the historic 1.5 billion mark in terms of digital engagement, currently ranks second in the average attendance charts with 26,672 fans turning out to demonstrate their support per match.

The latest milestone marks the second time that a spectator attendance benchmark has been achieved in Qatar after 82,490 fans set a new record for an opening match in AFC Asian Cup™ history when title-holders Qatar defeated Lebanon at the spectacular Lusail Stadium on January 12.