FIFA World Cup: Competition to begin a day early on November 20, Qatar to take on Ecuador

The announcement was followed by a change in the official countdown clocks for the event.

fifa world cup 2022
The organisers, who have spent billions for the event, immediately welcomed the gesture. (Reuters)

The World Cup will begin one day earlier than scheduled after FIFA, the governing body of world football, brought forward the competition to November 20, with hosts Qatar playing Ecuador.

The Group A match was set to be played on November 21 as the competition’s third match, while Senegal were due to face The Netherlands in the opening match, according to the original schedule.

FIFA’s administrative arm submitted a proposal to move the Qatar game following discussions with the hosts and their opponents after a request from CONMEBOL, the South American confederation. The change in schedule fits in with the tradition of either the holders or the hosts being involved in the opening match.

In a statement on Thursday, FIFA said: “The decision followed an assessment of the competition and operational implications, as well as a thorough consultation process and an agreement with key stakeholders and the host country. The release period, as previously decided and as governed by the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, will remain unchanged, beginning on 14 November 2022.”

“Ticket holders will be duly notified by email that the relevant matches have been rescheduled and their tickets will remain valid irrespective of the new date/time. In addition, FIFA will seek to address any issues arising from this change in a case-by-case basis.”

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The final decision, however, will be made by the bureau of the FIFA council that includes the presidents of the six confederations and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

The organisers, who have spent billions for the event, immediately welcomed the gesture.

“Opening the first FIFA World Cup to be held in the Middle East and Arab world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Qatar,” the organising committee said in a statement.

“The impact of this decision on fans was assessed by FIFA. We will work together to ensure a smooth tournament for the supporters affected by the change.”

The announcement was followed by a change in the official countdown clocks for the event. The 100-day countdown to the first match has been moved to Friday from Saturday.

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