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Fans upbeat as FIFA set to reopen World Cup ticket sale

Several fans living in Qatar wishing to buy more tickets were elated by the announcement. Doha resident Sharmili Datta Gupta had been opening her FIFA online account every other day to check for updates.

"I bought the tickets during the first phase, but wasn’t lucky during the second one. I believe all tickets for the quarters, the semis and the final have been sold out. What probably remain are the high-priced tickets for group stage matches," said Gupta who owns tickets for her three-member family to the semi-final to be played at the Lusail Stadium on December 13.

"The Category 4 tickets cost me QR500 each. I will see if I can get my hands on more tickets if they are affordable," said the Indian senior secondary teacher who works at an American school in Doha.

The latest online ticket sale on FIFA.com/tickets will continue until the end of the tournament on December 18.

Pakistani citizen Amna Pervaiz Rao is all ready to jump into the online fray once bookings open at noon Doha time on September 27. "I wish I can buy the tickets priced at QR 35," said Rao, aneditor at Qatar University.

According to organisers, there has been sustained demand for tickets for the first FIFA World Cup to be played in the Middle East. Qatar borders tourism magnet Dubai which is set to gain from the tournament that is expected see the arrival of more than a million fans from across the globe.

Qatar’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) neighbours like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman have increased the number of flights to Doha, the hub of Qatar Airways. The Qatari carrier has announced stepped up operations during the tournament by scheduling shuttle flights to and from Dubai.

During the last sales phase from July 5 to August 16, a total of 520,532 tickets were sold, FIFA said, bringing the total number of tickets bought to 2.45 million.<br> <br>International and local ticket holders are required to apply for a Hayya card– a tournament ID available in digital and physical form-to be able to access stadiums and gain entry into Qatar. The card will act as a visa for international fans and will provide them multiple entry to Qatar and visa-free travel to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman. <br>A Hayya card will also enable spectators access to free public transport on match days, along with several other benefits like entry into fan zones.

Qatar, where authorities are busy with preparations for the grand event, has suspended the entry of visitors (without match tickets and Hayya cards) from November 1 to December 22.

Under the 1+3 policy declared earlier, one Hayya card holder can host up to three non-ticket holders in the country by paying a charge of QR 500 per person.

<br>–IANS<br>Mukesh/inj

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