The change allows host nation Qatar to kick off the tournament.
FIFA has officially announced a change in the schedule of the 2022 World Cup that will see the tournament start a day earlier, a statement confirmed on Thursday.
The global football governing body said the event will begin on November 20 instead of the initially scheduled date of November 21 to allow host nation Qatar to open up the World Cup.
The change is “in line with long-standing tradition of opening matches involving hosts or reigning champions,” a statement said.
“The opening match and ceremony of this year’s tournament at Al Bayt Stadium have been brought forward one day following a unanimous decision taken by the Bureau of the FIFA Council,” it added.
The opening ceremony will be followed by a game between Qatar and Ecuador.
The planned Senegal v the Netherlands game will continue as scheduled on 21 November, but has been pushed to a later evening slot.
“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 statement said.
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.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match schedule, as well as the competition regulations, have been amended accordingly.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will see the biggest footballing tournament on the globe come to the Middle East for the first time ever.
Due to Qatar’s desert climate, the country encounters intense heat during the summer, with temperatures rising above 40°C. To protect fans and players of the FIFA World Cup, the tournament in Qatar was shifted to winter, when temperatures are at a more comfortable 15°C.
Football leagues, including the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, and the UEFA Champions, are kicking off early this year to accommodate the world’s first winter World Cup.