World Cup ticket sales near 2.9m - FIFA and Qatar organisers

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Nearly 2.9 million tickets have been sold for the World Cup in Qatar, FIFA and organizers said Monday, leaving about 7% of seats still available.

People living in the United States, Saudi Arabia and England topped the list of international ticket buyers, while Mexico was the biggest market outside Qatar for corporate hospitality sales.

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More tickets will become available before the tournament starts on Nov. 20, FIFA's tournament director Colin Smith said at a news conference in Doha held with Qatari organisers.

Tickets can typically become available late because stakeholders such as sponsors and FIFA member federations return them from their quotas.

About 1.2 million international visitors are expected in Qatar for the 29-day tournament with extra accommodation still being added to avoid a shortage of rooms in the tiny emirate.

Qatari officials said 2 million separate room nights have already been sold to fans -- in hotels, apartments, cruise ships and some camping sites -- with 30,000 room options now added to the capacity.

Those new rooms added a total capacity of about 1 million room nights, said Yasir Al Jamal, director general of the Qatari organising committee.

Extra capacity was added last week with the hiring of a third, 1,075-cabin cruise ship to dock in Doha port as a floating hotel.

Prices started at $470 each night during the opening two weeks when all 32 teams are still involved.

Though 420,000 people worldwide applied to be a tournament volunteer working in Qatar, only 20,000 have been chosen, organisers said.

A total of 11%, about 2,200 people, will come from abroad and 89% are from Qatar.

Organisers said an innovation for this World Cup will be a central base for consular services with 45 countries represented by their embassy staff, in an exhibition hall in the downtown West Bay area.