In an unprecedented move, FIFA formally moved forward the World Cup’s first game by one day, to November 20, so that hosts Qatar will play in the championship event.
FIFA said in a statement that the decision had received unanimous approval from all football’s senior authorities. Qatar stated it would provide fans impacted by the move with specific assistance.
On the previous schedule, the official opening match between Qatar and Ecuador was scheduled for November 21.
Instead, the day’s first encounter would be between Senegal and the Netherlands. Second place would have gone to England vs. Iran.
Qatar had also experienced disappointment since it had spent much on the opening ceremony entertainment.
FIFA said the host nation Qatar would now take versus Ecuador on Sunday, November 20, as part of a separate competition.
According to a unanimous decision by the FIFA Council’s office today, the tournament’s opening ceremony and game at Al Bayt Stadium have been moved forward one day.
Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, and the six presidents of the international federations make up the bureau.
“Smooth tournament” pledge
In addition, FIFA said that the modification “ensures the preservation of a long-standing tradition of commemorating the commencement of the World Cup with an opening ceremony on the occasion of the first match involving either the hosts or the defending champions.”
The match between Senegal and the Netherlands in Group A will begin at 7:00 p.m. on November 21 instead of 1:00 p.m. (1000 GMT). The first Group B matchup between England and Iran has not changed.
The event’s Qatari organizers, who have invested billions of dollars in planning, warmly accepted FIFA’s offer.
The organizing committee said opening the first FIFA World Cup to be hosted in the Middle East and the Arab world was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Qatar.
“FIFA evaluated how this decision might affect supporters. We’ll cooperate to make sure the fans impacted by the move have a seamless event, “they said without more explanation.
According to sports insiders, the date adjustment may necessitate revisions to certain World Cup contracts as some Ecuador supporters may need to change flights to get to Qatar early.
However, many World Cup-related businesses voiced optimism that the inconvenience would be resolved.
Jaime Byrom, head of Match Hospitality, which has a contract with FIFA to organize hospitality packages for World Cup events and has reserved 450,000 seats for the competition, stated, “It is something we will deal with.”
“It is not a huge difficulty compared to the other problems that we may have encountered or faced in the past,” Byrom told AFP.
“We have to concentrate on those clients who are most impacted, and in this situation, I assume we will be focusing on our Ecuadorian clients who are traveling from outside and making sure that they are on time for the match.”
The official event countdown clocks were promptly modified. Instead of Saturday, the 100-day countdown to the first game will now begin on Friday.
The choice was made when Qatar had its first official match at the Lusail stadium, which will host the World Cup final on December 18.
Al Arabi defeated Al Rayyan 2-1 in the Qatar championship in front of more than 10,000 spectators, with players covered in air conditioning to fend off the oppressive summer heat.