FIFA World Cup 2022
France are the defending FIFA World Cup champions (Credits: Twitter)

FIFA, on Thursday (August 11) officially brought forward the opening match of this year’s World Cup by one day. Consequently, FIFA World Cup 2022 will now start on November 20 instead of November 21. The reason behind the decision to advance the start of the competition by one day was to ensure that hosts Qatar feature in the gala game.

While announcing the decision, FIFA also said that the game’s top officials universally approved the decision. On the other hand, hosts Qatar have said it would give unspecified help to fans affected by the change. Originally, the game between Qatar and Ecuador was the inaugural match of FIFA World Cup 2022 on November 21. However, Netherlands’ game against Senegal was scheduled to take place before the Qatar-Ecuador game on the same day. The new decision means the first day of the tournament will see only one match.

FIFA World Cup 2022
France with the World Cup after winning the 2018 edition (Credits: Twitter)

“Host country Qatar will now play Ecuador on Sunday 20 November as part of a stand-alone event,” said FIFA.

“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 today.

“The change ensures the continuity of a long-standing tradition of marking the start of the World Cup with an opening ceremony on the occasion of the first match featuring either the hosts or the defending champions,” added FIFA.

Changes in FIFA World Cup 2022 schedule:

After the latest change. the Group A game between Senegal and the Netherlands has been shifted from 1:00pm (1000 GMT) on November 21 to a 7:00pm start. In the original schedule, England vs Iran was  to be the second game and the timing of that match has not been changed. Except these couple of changes, the whole schedule remains same.

“Opening the first FIFA World Cup to be held in the Middle East and Arab world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Qatar. The impact of this decision on fans was assessed by FIFA. We will work together to ensure a smooth tournament for the supporters affected by the change,” the delighted organising committee said in a statement.