Qatar World Cup to start earlier to give hosts opening game.
The upcoming football World Cup in Qatar is to start a day earlier than planned to allow hosts Qatar to play the first match.
Dpa and other media outlets have learned that the FIFA council is attending to a request. On November 20, at Al Bayt Stadium, the game between Qatar and Ecuador would begin at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT). FIFA has not yet responded to the situation.
The game would have been the third of four contests on the first day of the tournament, November 21, along with the Netherlands vs. Senegal, England vs. Iran, and the United States vs. Wales.
The Netherlands game would switch from a 1 p.m. kickoff time to the original 7 p.m. time for Qatar v. Ecuador under the proposed change, while the England and U.S. games would not be impacted.
Following an agreement between the two sides and the South American association CONMEBOL, the request was made. Players’ release dates won’t change as a result.
The first game was played between 1958 and 1970, and again following the tournament in Germany in 2006. The reigning champion, who is no longer an automatic qualifier, started the tournaments from 1974 to 2002.
Between 1930 and 1954, no official opening match took place.