Local football club Al Rayyan beat Al Sadd 2-1 in the 2013 Emir of Qatar Cup final. But many fans were left standing outside Khalifa stadium – tickets in hand – when doors were locked more than an hour before the match started on Saturday night.
Here’s the latest:
UPDATE | Sunday, May 19, 2013, 11:22am
UPDATE | Saturday, May 18, 2013, 9:08pm
Al Rayyan beat Al Sadd 2-1.
As Al Sadd and Al Rayyan square off during the Emir Cup tonight, scores of disappointed ticket-holders are once again complaining of being locked out at the gates.
@dohanews I came at 6pm, and already the gates were closed-even the family gates! So many people are outside! There’s many viewing from out.— Qatar Kimono Girl (@QatarKimonoGirl)
Some have been told by officials that Khalifa Stadium is full, and fans do indeed appear to be packed into the venue.
However, the more likely reason is security concerns, as the Emir and other VIPs are attending the match. The protocol when such officials attend events is to usher other attendees in early.
Problems were also reported at halftime, when people who went out of the stadium were not allowed back in unless they were in the VIP section, game attendee Gazanfarulla Khan told Doha News.
Even though the game started at 7pm, the Ministry of Interior tweeted today that doors to the gates would open to the public around 3:45pm. It appears latecomers, even if they paid for tickets, were shut out.
The MOI also posted a series of tweets warning fans not to bring fireworks, wooden sticks, animals, horns and metal and glass containers into the stadium. Attendees were also reminded to stay in their seats and maintain decorum.
This is not the first time sports fans have left a major event in Qatar disappointed. Earlier this year, ticket-holders at the Spain vs. Uruguay match complained about slow security checks impeding their ability to get into the game.
Others were reminded of the 2011 Asian Football Confederation Final, when a similar situation occurred.
.@dohanews People arriving after prayer are locked out every year. QFA need to have fan zone & sufficient prayer space within ticketed area— Brooke (@Brookster81)
For those who didn’t make it to the match or weren’t allowed in, the second half is getting underway, and can be watched live on Qatar TV.
Are you at the stadium? What’s your experience been like?