We're sorry, Qatar tells fans hit by Asian Cup fiasco

Qatari organisers promise to refund hundreds of fans locked out of final by security measures

Some 700 ticket-holders were left outside the 40,000-seat Khalifa Stadium when gates were locked 55 minutes prior to kick-off

Some 700 ticket-holders were left outside the 40,000-seat Khalifa Stadium when gates were locked 55 minutes prior to kick-off

Organisers of the Asian Cup have apologised to hundreds of fans who were locked out of the final in Qatar, despite holding valid tickets, after security guards denied them entry.

The local organising committee has said it will refund the estimated 700 ticket-holders who were left outside the 40,000-seat Khalifa Stadium when gates were locked 55 minutes prior to kick-off due to the attendance of several VIPs.

In a statement to Arabian Business, organisers urged fans to get in touch for ticket refunds.

“We apologize to fans that were not able to enter the Final Match and have decided in conjunction with the AFC to refund all ticket-holders who have been denied access to the venue due to Security Closure of Gates,” the committee said.

“Please see the detailed process at tickets.afcasiancup.com for applying for refunds and – as always – please do not hesitate to contact the QLOC at tickets@asiancup2011.com.qa for any further inquiries you may have.”

Refund applications will be considered between 3-28 February.

The Asian Cup had been billed as a dress rehearsal for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, but led to a storm of criticism from fans – some of whom had travelled hundreds of miles for the event.

Sameh Abu Assi, who had driven nearly 1,600km from Saudi Arabia, told newswire CP he had spent $2,000 on hotels and tickets.

"We should be allowed to enter," he said. "How do they expect to organize the 2022 World Cup? They can't even organize this."

Comments posted on the Arabian Business website also suggested that the authorities had deliberately misrepresented the number of fans who had been locked out of the game.

“I was there at gate J5, there were at least 350 people there with tickets and were denied entry, I know this because I was one of them,” one poster identifying himself as Aaron wrote. “And I know that there were people complaining at each and every gate.”

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Posted by: No Refund

FIFA Qatar stated that ticket refunds would be provided for those barred from entering. I submitted my unused tickets (8) within the timeframe requested. I've still to recieve a refund. The FIFA Qatar office never picks up its phone or answers emails. FIFA Qatar is so disorganized. This county doesn't deserve the World Cup.

Posted by: Rags

In my opinion, think Qatar wanted to show off to the world that the stadiums are full (by letting people in free without valid tickets) and claim that there were so many fans waiting outside to get into the stadium (having valid tickets) to prove to the world that the residents are mad on football.

Posted by: Max

I know of fans although having a GCC residence visa were not allowed to enter Doha by the immigration at the airport. The reason given by the immigration is their designation is not as per GCC standard. What standard should I ask? If FIFA has appointed Doha as the host of the Asian Cup, the committee should have made it clear supporters irrespective of their nationality / designation should be permitted to enter the country in order to support their team. BTW during both the Asian Games and Asian Cup the stands were empty and the local TV channel were focusing only at the general stand to project a sell-out crowd. It is shameful to know that fans who travelled from all over to support their teams were not allowed in the finals. Hats off to FIFA on a well appointed country to represent football at its highest level. WC 2022 will be a failure.

Posted by: His Excellency Dr Paul

Qatar refused entry to Brazilians I know with full GCC residence visas for the Brazil-England game there a year or two ago... unless they were married to Europeans...

I mean, what is the point of having a Brazil-England friendly game and not letting Brazilians in to watch even if they have full residency in the UAE?

I was going to say Brazil should do the same treatment to Qatar fans in the 2014 World Cup, but of course Qatar's team stands no chance of actually qualifying for the tournament anyway, quite apart from the fact no one there has any real interest in football or their own team anyway.

Posted by: M. Ab A.

World Cup 2022 will be a embarrassment to FIFA if they don't resolve these issues with Qatar. People travel from many countries to attend the game, and you just going to give them a refund? And that should be it? One main reason Dubai is doing well, is their respect for rules, guys.

Posted by: zag

Although I agree with you that Qatar shall resolve these issues , Dubai is not an ideal standard to respect rules... I have been cheated by real estate agents there and Government didn't do a thing about it . So where are the rules ?

Posted by: Anil

The Asian Cup was a dress rehearsal for the World Cup.

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