The Qatar World Cup 2022 could kick off on November 20 instead of the 21st of the same month, after organizers sought to move the opening match by one day, AFP reported citing sources with knowledge of the matter. The change, which must be approved by FIFA before the start of the 100-day countdown to the start of the finals this week, will see the tournament keep to its tradition of the hosts playing the opening match.
Senegal and the Netherlands had been scheduled to play the first game on November 21, followed by the official inauguration match, Qatar’s World Cup debut, that evening.
FIFA and the Qatari organizing committee declined to comment on the change in the news.
“There were discussions and agreement between the two respective teams and there was a request from CONMEBOL — the South American confederation,” one World Cup source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity as no official decision has been announced.
“We wanted to follow the tradition that either the reigning champions or the host country be involved in the opening match,” the source added.
But another tournament source said action would be taken to help fans with tickets for the November 21 game.
“Any disruption will be dealt with so the impact is minimal,” the source told AFP.
Moreover, under the change, Netherlands v Senegal in Group A would be moved from 1:00 pm (1000 GMT) on November 21 to a 7:00 pm start. “It is a better slot for both teams for television and other areas,” said the World Cup source.