FIFA says VIP fans are often to blame for empty seats at its World Cup games.
Empty seats have been seen, often in prime positions, during numerous games, including some which were officially sold out. That’s because FIFA measures its 98 percent attendance rate for the World Cup based on the number of tickets sold and delivered, rather than the number of people who attend the game on the day.
FIFA competitions director Colin Smith says “we want every seat filled inside the stadium. The reality is that there are some no-shows.”
He adds empty seats are often caused by VIP fans either choosing to watch part or all of the game in an indoor hospitality area. If they don’t turn up at all, Smith says, security concerns mean their seats sometimes can’t be redistributed because “in certain cases it may be difficult at short notice to have access for general public fans at the VIP areas.—AP