FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: India has highest number of fans at stadiums after Saudi Arabia

India nationals were only behind Saudi Arabia in terms of ticket applications for the FIFA World Cup.

Argentina fans from India wait outside Stadium 974.

Argentina fans from India wait outside Stadium 974. | Photo Credit: Natacha Pisarenko

India nationals were only behind Saudi Arabia in terms of ticket applications for the FIFA World Cup.

Qatar, until the end of the ongoing football World Cup group stage games, has welcomed the second-highest visitors from India, according to a document released by FIFA on Saturday.

A total of two million Hayya applications were received by the Middle East country. Out of this, 56,893 were applied for by Indian nationals. A Hayya card is an official document that is issued and required by every person attending a World Cup match.

Saudi Arabia topped the list with 77,106 applications. USA, UK and Mexico completed the top five.

The presence of Indian fans at the quadrennial event does not come as a surprise. Before the tournament began, Berthold Trenker, the chief tourism officer of Qatar, had told Sportstar about ample interest from Indians.

“Indian ticket sales have been very strong. It has not qualified for the World Cup, but Indians love football. Previous World Cups were held in far away places like Brazil. Qatar, however, is not far from India (which makes it easier to travel),” he said.

The trends during early tickets sales, released by FIFA, however, reflected interest from USA, England, Mexico, France, Argentina, Brazil and Germany, apart from the neighbouring countries like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Overall, the 48 group stage games saw an attendance of 2.45 million spectators. With the Round of 16 commencing on Saturday, 16 matches are yet to be played in the tournament.

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