The opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has been brought forward a day and will take place on November 20, sources close to the tournament told AFP on Wednesday.
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Change of programming to respect tradition
FIFA and the Qatari organizers have accepted this change, said the same sources.
While the inaugural match between the host country and Ecuador was originally scheduled for November 21, the latter was finally brought forward to Sunday November 20.
It was originally planned by FIFA that the first meeting would be between Senegal and the Netherlands, on Monday, November 21 at 11:00 a.m. (French time).
This match would have been followed by a second meeting between England and Iran at 2:00 p.m.
Then, the inaugural match between Qatar and Ecuador would have taken place in the evening.
The host country would have started its World Cup when two matches have already been played.
To respect the tradition established since the 2006 World Cup,
FIFA and organizers remain silent at this time
The decision, which still needs to be endorsed by the Bureau of the FIFA Council before the 100-day countdown to the start of the tournament, will therefore return to the tradition of the first match being played by the host country.
Contacted by AFP, FIFA and the organizers refused to comment on the subject.
There have been discussions and an agreement between the two respective teams and there has been a request from Conmebol
", the South American football confederation, one of the sources told AFP, under cover of anonymity as no official decision has been announced.
We wanted to follow the tradition of the defending champion or the host country being involved in the opening match
," she added.
Redevelopments to be planned
For fans in possession of tickets for the November 21 match, "
any disruption will be managed so that the impact is minimal
," another source close to the tournament told AFP.
As part of the change, the Netherlands-Senegal match would be moved from 1:00 p.m. local time (10:00 GMT) to 7:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. GMT).
It's a better slot for both teams in terms of TV broadcast and other areas
," the source explained.
Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to host one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
The competition has been moved from summer to late autumn 2022 due to extreme temperatures in the Gulf emirate.