Massive rush to buy tickets for Gulf Cup semis Dec 04, 2019 0 3172 12345 Tribune News NetworkDohaTickets for the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup semi-finals have been selling like hot cakes. There is a mad rush at ticket counters, the organisers have said.Hundreds of fans and football lovers were seen queuing up to buy tickets an hour after the counters opened at 4pm on Tuesday. There is a huge demand for tickets to watch hosts Qatar taking on arch-rivals Saudi Arabia at Al Janoub Stadium in the Gulf Cup semi-final on Thursday, December 5. On the same day, Iraq will face Bahrain at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium at Al Sadd.The ticket sales for the last four stage began on Tuesday and within hours after the five counters at various malls in Qatar and the official online ticketing website becoming active, the Qatar Football Association (QFA) reported a healthy sale of over 25,000 tickets, including 15,700 online.The sale began on the official website, Villaggio Mall, Mall of Qatar, Doha Festival City, Souq Waqif and Katara at 4 pm.People were seen standing in long queues at malls to procure a ticket for the semi-finals.Till 5.54 pm, 7,000 tickets were sold from the website for both the semi-finals. However after 6.30 pm, around 13,000 tickets were grabbed by fans across Qatar.“Scene we did not get used to in Qatar, queues to buy tickets two days before the game, international sports facilities and easy access to stadiums through the Metro,” a Twitter user said.Initially, the online sale was a bit slow. “Even there’s a long queue for tickets online. I got two tickets after waiting for two and half hours online,” said Shantanu Chatterjee, an avid football lover. “The message online shows – you are now in line for Arabian Gulf Cup Qatar 2019 (tickets). When it’s your turn, you will have 20 minutes to enter the website,” he said, noting the massive rush for tickets.Meanwhile, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC CEO Nasser al Khater expressed his delight at the well-coordinated arrangements for the Gulf Cup. He was also happy with the number of tickets sold during the first phase of the regional championship.Addressing the media earlier in the day, he said, “In terms of organisation of the Arabian Gulf Cup, we are very happy with the level of coordination between ourselves, traffic police and the security agencies. We have been seeing from the opening match onwards that there has been an increase in efficiency, which is normal in every mega event.“The opening match is always the most challenging one. We did not get any complaints from the teams and delegations. We think overall the organisation has been a success and now we have three more matches to go.“During the group stages, 150,000 tickets were sold, which represented around 69.2 percent of the total available tickets, which is a very good number.”He praised Qatar Rail for smooth travel of fans through Doha Metro. “The Metro has been very successful. For the opening match, we had 9,000 passengers. For the match between Qatar and the UAE, we had 14,000 passengers,” he informed.About the double treat of the Gulf Cup and yet to be held FIFA World Club Cup Qatar 2019, Khater said the two tournaments together make for the exact length of the 2022 World Cup.“For us, we are not looking at these tournaments as two tournaments back-to-back. We are looking at them as one tournament with three days in between. That’s almost the length of the World Cup in 2022. For us it’s good. The venue teams are the same, the planning stage was one.”On the ease of access and fans’ comfort, Khater said, “There is definitely very, very good crowd control organization. In terms of efficiency, people entering the stadiums through the security gates and other things. Some matches were a little more challenging just because they were bigger. But they were all important steps towards organising a successful World Cup. We are very satisfied with all the measures, and all the organisational part of the tournament.”On the FIFA Club World Cup 2019, which begins on December 11, Khater said, “We are working together with Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC), Qatar Airways, Katara Cultural Village, Ministry of Sports and Culture. There is a fully integrated plan for fans that will be attending the Club World Cup. It’s similar to what we are doing for the Gulf Cup. There are a lot of activities and events happening in Katara and Souq Waqif. And for the Club World Cup too we will have these cultural and traditional activities and events. 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