RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The empty seats visible at some stadiums in the World Cup’s opening 14 matches are due to fans who have bought tickets but have not turned up for the games rather than corporate clients not using them, FIFA said on Tuesday.
FIFA’s official figures show that 701,710 of the 716,176 seats available in the opening games have been filled, meaning that 98 per cent of all seats have been used in the games so far.
Only one match - Sunday’s Group F opener between Argentina and Bosnia at the Maracana - has produced a capacity of 100 percent with all 74,738 seats sold and used.
The lowest percentage attendance, was that for the third match of the tournament, the Group B classic between the Netherlands and world champions Spain in Salvador which the Dutch won 5-1.
Only 48,173 of the 51,900 available seats were used - producing the lowest percentage attendance of any of the games so far of 92.8 per cent.
“These seats are not empty because corporate people are failing to turn up for them,” FIFA spokesperson Delia Fischer told reporters.
”They are empty, because for whatever reason, fans who bought tickets are not turning up for the matches.
“FIFA has done a great deal of work to ensure that there are not rows of empty seats taken and not used by corporate clients and you will not see that at this World Cup, but we cannot legislate for people not coming to games despite buying tickets.”
As well as the Argentina v Bosnia game producing a 100 per cent capacity figure, three other matches had attendances of over 99 per cent of the stadium’s capacity.
Monday evening’s attendance at the United States v Ghana match was 39,760, representing 99.5 per cent of the capacity at the Dunas arena in Natal.
The attendance for the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday was 62,103, representing 99.3 per cent of the Corinthians arena’s capacity, while the France v Honduras game at Porto Alegre’s Beira Rio stadium was 43,012, representing 99.1 per cent of the capacity.
Editing by Ed Osmond