Qatar ready to welcome India football fans as it gets ready for AFC Asian Cup 2024

Tickets for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup 2023 – scheduled to be held in Qatar from January 12, 2024, to February 10 – will go on sale from October 10.

With India making it to the continental championship for the second consecutive edition, the local organisers are expecting strong support for Igor Stimac’s side, with more than 700, 000 Indians living in Qatar.

India is clubbed in Group B alongside Australia, Uzbekistan, and Syria. The top two teams from each of the six groups and the four best third-placed teams will qualify for the round of 16.

The Blue Tigers will open its campaign against the higher-ranked Socceroos at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on January 13.

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“It [Ahmad bin Ali Stadium] is the best in terms of everything like the infrastructure, it is the easiest stadium to arrive [to] with the metro. You have the Qatar Mall nearby, so you can go early and hang out there. It is a very friendly stadium. By the way, it is the stadium of my team (Al Rayyan’s home stadium), so I will always say good things about it, but I think the Indian fans will have one of their best moments there. Good luck to them,” said Hassan Rabeeah Al Kuwari, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, LOC, Asian Cup Qatar 2023 in a press meet here.

“The Indian community, not just from now or the [last 20 or 30 years], they have always been part of our success. All communities in Qatar are more than welcome. Everyone is welcome to Qatar. Everyone will be part of our success during the tournament.”

Tickets will be released in four phases and will start with a minimum price of 25 Qatari Riyal (570 INR), with electronic tickets also available.

For the benefit of the fans, several packages will also be released by the authorities, like single-match tickets and favourite team packages.

Unlike the FIFA World Cup, the tickets will not be linked to a Hayya Card (a means of entry into Qatar for international fans and serves as identification for all holders of a match ticket/s).

“For the Asian Cup, Hayya is not mandatory. It is a way to enter Qatar besides other ways,” Al Kuwari said.

Seamless operation and viewing experience

The Asian Cup is almost a month long. Fifty-one matches will take place across nine stadiums, seven of which were used during the World Cup last year.

A tournament of such magnitude will require a flawless operation, and the authorities have announced that over 6000 volunteers will be appointed for the tournament.

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According to Rabeeah, over 30,000 applications have already come in, which will be carefully scrutinised and then, narrowed down.

The writer is in Doha at the invitation of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Local Organizing Committee


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