England faced Iran in their opening match of the Qatar World Cup at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha; joint statement from England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland earlier in the day confirmed the decision not to wear the OneLove armband
Tuesday 22 November 2022 12:08, UK
England's World Cup opener against Iran was marred by ticket issues ahead of the game, leading to a number of supporters missing the kick-off.
The match began as scheduled in Doha but there were several reports of fans experiencing difficulties trying to get into the Khalifa International Stadium on time.
With the 4pm local time kick-off approaching (1pm GMT), some supporters were frantically refreshing the official ticketing mobile app on their phones in a bid to have their QR code load.
FIFA acknowledged some fans were experiencing issues accessing their tickets and said it was working on solving the issue.
A statement shortly before kick-off read: "Some spectators are currently experiencing an issue with accessing their tickets via the FIFA ticketing app. FIFA is working on solving the issue.
"In the meantime, fans who are not able to access their mobile tickets should check their email accounts they used to register with the ticketing app for further instructions.
"In case fans cannot access their email accounts, the stadium's Ticket Resolution Point will be able to support.
"We thank fans for their understanding as we work to fix the issue as soon as possible."
Free Lions, the Football Supporters' Association team that provides travel and logistical advice to fans, also released a statement on social media.
They wrote on Twitter: "We're aware of issues with some e-tickets at the stadium with FIFA's ticketing app. The FA is working hard to find a resolution for England fans.
"If you have issues seeing your ticket on the app, join the ticketing resolution queue at the stadium, but keep checking the app."
Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett speaking after England's 6-2 win:
"It was difficult. We were live on Sky Sports News up until about 45 minutes before kick-off and then we raced off to try and use our tickets to try and get access to the stadium.
"We managed to get in two minutes before the game kicked off, and it was very tight, we were rushing and the only reason we made kick-off was because by the time we eventually got to those digital turnstiles the staff had given up on them and were checking the tickets at face value, if you like. They were looking at our tickets rather than scanning them through the digital turnstiles.
"I think they took a pragmatic decision that they weren't going to get all of the fans in anywhere near kick-off by sticking to the digital turnstiles. There was a technical problem and by the time we started queuing it was about 35 minutes until kick-off, which was quite late really, and we managed to get in just before kick-off.
"We did see a significant number of England supporters stuck in queues having their bags searched, trying to get through security and there were times when those turnstiles were switched off and nobody was being allowed through while they fixed the technical problems.
"I don't think it was as serious a problem as we have seen at other tournaments - as we saw at the Champions League final, certainly not, but it was an irritation and it will be interesting to see if the stewards and FIFA can get that sorted out for the next England games and the rest of the games to come, because it was an irritation and quite a lot of England fans missed the kick-off."
The ticketing issues came after England were accused of having "bottled it" by not wearing an anti-discrimination armband in their Group B opener.
The Three Lions and Wales announced, via a joint statement along with other European nations who had signed up to the OneLove campaign, that the armbands would no longer be worn.
They said FIFA had been clear it would impose "sporting sanctions" if the captains of the teams wore the armband on the field of play, adding they would not risk yellow cards or more.
England fan Steve Wright, 43, from Derby, said: "I disagree with that. They're just bowing to the oppression of the Qatari government."
Shaun Rowland, 56, from Hertfordshire, also speaking outside the Khalifa International Stadium ahead of England's game with Iran, said: "They've bottled it, haven't they?
"Would it have made a massive difference? I don't know, I think it's a shame."