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Ticket sales for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar hit 2.45 million three months to go

Football fans have so far bought 2.45 million tickets for November’s World Cup in Doha, according to FIFA, which plans to make 3 million seats available in total.

Nearly 521,000 tickets were sold in the most recent phase and group stage matches featuring Brazil proved popular. Residents of host country Qatar and neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were among the top buyers, FIFA said.

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The World Cup has been touted as an event that will benefit countries in the region, and Qatar Airways has partnered with Gulf carriers to set up match-day shuttle flights between Doha and major cities in the Middle -East.

FIFA plans to launch the next phase of ticket sales in September. About 1.2 million fans, roughly half of Qatar’s population, are expected to descend on the Gulf state during the event.

Providing enough rooms for visiting fans, teams and tournament staff remains a major challenge for Qatar and organizers have tried everything from cruise ships to desert camps to help ease the accommodation shortage.

The event is set to start on November 20, a day earlier than planned, following a last-minute change this month.

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