World football’s governing body, FIFA, has received 8,486 requests for tickets from Belgian fans for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Belgium is thus in 39th place where bookings per country are concerned, a FIFA spokesman confirmed to Belga News Agency on Friday.
Members of 1895, the fan club for Belgium’s Red Devils, have booked 311 tickets for their team’s match against Panama, 1,001 for its encounter with Tunisia, and 1,461 for its last match of the group phase – against England. Fan-club members also made 194 bookings for a possible match in the last-16 phase, 223 for the quarter finals, 218 for the semi-finals and 420 for the final.
Another 4,572 tickets were booked outside of 1895. These are tickets for neutral zones, not for matches involving Belgium.
On the other hand, soccer fans in the Netherlands, which did not qualify for Russia, booked over 71,000 tickets.
Belgium, one of the outsiders in the competition, is in 39th place for ticket bookings, just ahead of Costa Rica and Finland, a non-qualifier.
FIFA has registered a total of about 5 million bookings, more than half of them from Russian fans.
The Federation has downplayed the weak interest shown by Belgian fans. “This is just about the bookings, which still have to be confirmed; the numbers fluctuate and no conclusion can be drawn from the rankings,” the FIFA spokesman said. “Moreover, tickets are still being sold, so these are provisional rankings.”
The next ticket-sale phase begins on the 13th of March, when tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. After that, a last-minute sale will be organized. In both cases, these will be tickets for neutral zones.