England’s World Cup opener against Iran was marred by a pre-match ticketing crisis, causing several fans to miss kick-off.
The match started as planned in Doha but there were several reports that fans were having trouble trying to get into the Khalifa International Stadium on time.
As 4pm approached (1pm GMT), some agents were eagerly refreshing the official ticketing app on their phones in order to increase their QR codes.
FIFA has acknowledged that some fans are having trouble getting their tickets and said it is working to resolve the issue.
A statement shortly before the kick-off read: “Some spectators are experiencing problems obtaining their tickets through the FIFA app. FIFA is working to resolve the issue.
“At this time, fans who are unable to access their mobile tickets should check their email accounts registered with the ticketing app for more information.
“If fans cannot access their email addresses, the stadium’s Ticket Resolution Point will help.
“We thank fans for their understanding as we work to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”
The Free Lions, the Football Supporters’ Association which provides travel and transport advice to fans, also released a statement on social media.
They wrote on Twitter: “We are aware of the difficulties with e-tickets at the stadium and the FIFA ticketing system. The FA is working hard to find a solution for England fans.
“If you are having trouble viewing your ticket on the app, join the ticket line at the stadium, but continue to check the app.”
‘The lines didn’t move’
Sky Sports News chief correspondent Rob Dorsett writes minutes before kick-off in Doha:
“We have just passed long queues of English and Iranian fans trying to get into the Khalifa International Stadium.
“For a long time, the lines didn’t move at all as officials and managers struggled with turn-key machines.
“Ultimately, they allow people to go through with ticket checks, instead of checking digitally.
“A lot of England fans would still be outside trying to get in, and they’ll miss the start.”
England ‘put it’ on the OneLove band
The ticket-buying scandal came after England were accused of being “suspended” by not wearing anti-racist clothing in their Group B opener.
The Three Lions and Wales have announced, through a joint statement with other European countries that have signed up to the OneLove campaign, that the laces will no longer be worn.
They said FIFA has been clear that it will issue “sporting sanctions” if team officials wear the necklace on the pitch, adding that they are not at risk of yellow cards or more.
England fan Steve Wright, 43, from Derby, said: “I don’t agree with it. They are just bowing to the oppression of the Qatari government.”
Shaun Rowland, 56, from Hertfordshire, speaking outside the Khalifa International Stadium before England’s match against Iran, said: “They’ve put it in a bottle, haven’t they?
“Would it have made a big difference? I don’t know, I think it’s a shame.”