REVEALED: FIFA are considering bringing this year’s World Cup FORWARD one day to allow hosts Qatar to play in the traditional curtain-raiser (and so the Emir can have his fireworks!)
- FIFA is set to change the start date of the World Cup so that Qatar can play first
- The tournament was due to kick off on November 21 with Holland vs Senegal
- However, hosts Qatar wish to take part in the opening game of the 2022 edition
- Their match against Ecuador could now kick things off on Sunday November 20
- England’s opening game of the tournament against Iran will not be affected
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
FIFA are set to change the start date of the World Cup so that the host nation Qatar can kick off the tournament.
The 2022 edition was initially due to start on Monday November 21 with Senegal playing the Netherlands.
However, after pleas from the hosts, the governing body will move the tournament forward by a day, allowing Felix Sanchez’s men to take part in the curtain-raiser on Sunday November 20.
Their clash with Ecuador will kick off at 7pm (4pm GMT) that day, instead of the original date of Monday November 21.
However, the decision to change the start date of the World Cup will not affect England’s opening game of the tournament.
The Three Lions will take on Iran in their first game of Group B on November 21 as originally planned.
The only other fixture ammended is the original first game between Senegal and Holland. The Group A rivals will now take the 7pm (4pm GMT) slot on the Monday vacated by Qatar and Senegal.
The decision to change the start date of the World Cup still needs to be approved by the Bureau of the FIFA Council.
That includes President Gianni Infantino and the leaders of each continental confederation.
FIFA is reportedly set to change the start date of the World Cup so that Qatar can play first
Qatar will reportedly play Ecuador on Sunday November 20 at 7pm (4pm GMT), instead of the original date of Monday November 21 at 7pm (4pm GMT)
However, the Athletic have reported that an agreement over the new start date should be granted in the comings days.
This would mean the World Cup in Qatar would take place from November 20 to December 18.
Qatar have never hosted the tournament before; in fact, they’ve never competed in it, becoming just the second nation since Italy in 1934 to play in a World Cup without ever officially qualifying for it.
The Bureau of the FIFA Council includes President Gianni Infantino (above) and the leaders of each continental confederation
The Emir is therefore said to have pushed for a spectacular visual display to kick-off their tournament – calling for fireworks to take place before Qatar’s opening game.
Qatar’s first game of the competition is set to take place at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium, which is located 27 miles outside of the Doha city centre.
Being one of the larger stadiums in use, the arena is designed to represent Arab hospitality with the structure looking like a traditional Arab tent known as ‘bayt al sha’ar’.
Because temperatures in Qatar can top 30C even in November, it will also have a retractable roof to keep out the heat – which will certainly come in handy for the display.
The Emir is said to have pushed for a spectacular visual display to kick-off their tournament – (photo of fireworks during the opening ceremony of the IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 in Doha)
England’s opening game of the tournament against Iran will not be affected as a result
More to follow…
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