The ball will roll a day earlier than expected for the 2022 World Cup, following a decision by the International Football Federation (FIFA). “The ceremony and the opening match of the competition at the Al Beyt stadium have thus been brought forward by one day on a unanimous decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council today”said the body, Thursday, August 11 in the evening, in a communiqué.
Accordingly, the match between the host country and Ecuador, originally scheduled for November 21, will take place on Sunday November 20 at 7 p.m. local time (5 p.m. CET) at Al-Bayt Stadium in Al-Khor, north of Doha, while the meeting – which was to be inaugural – between Senegal and the Netherlands, initially scheduled for 1 p.m. local time on Monday, November 21, was postponed to 7 p.m. the same day.
This decision will revive a recent tradition in which the first match of each World Cup is played by the host country, such as Russia-Saudi Arabia in the 2018 edition.
“The opportunity of a lifetime for Qatar”
“Playing the opening game of the first World Cup played in the Middle East and the Arab world is the opportunity of a lifetime for Qatarreacted the organizing committee in a press release. The world will watch as our proud nation kicks off the biggest sporting event against Ecuador. »
FIFA says it made this decision “following an assessment of the sporting and operational implications of this rescheduling, as well as an extensive consultation process and agreement with key stakeholders and the host country, which subsequently resulted in an agreement”.
“Ticket holders will be duly informed by email of the new schedule of the matches concerned, for which their tickets remain valid. Additionally, FIFA will work to resolve any issues caused by this change on a case-by-case basis.”, is added. The body finally specifies that the period of provision of players will remain unchanged, always starting on November 14, 2022.
On the side of the economic partners, this very unusual change will be “managed”assured Wednesday Jaime Byrom, president of Match Hospitality, a company with an agreement with FIFA to organize accommodation packages for World Cup matches and which has reserved 450,000 tickets for the tournament.
“Compared to other challenges that we might have encountered or that we have encountered in the past, this is really not a very big problem”Mr. Byrom told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “We will take care of our Ecuadorian customers who are traveling from abroad, and make sure they are in time for the game”he specified.
Changing the Hundred Days Countdown
The opening game is scheduled for the 60,000-capacity Al-Bayt Stadium, one of seven new venues built specifically for the tournament since the World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2010. The wealthy The Gulf gas state is preparing a spectacular opening ceremony for the World Cup in this stadium, the structure of which was inspired by the traditional tents of the Gulf’s Bedouins.
The change in date for the opening game involves a change to the hundred-day countdown to the World Cup which was due to kick off on Saturday, with events staged that day across the emirate of 2.8 million inhabitants, approximately 90% of whom are foreigners.
Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to host one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The competition has been moved from summer to late autumn 2022 due to extreme temperatures in the Gulf emirate. If FIFA President Gianni Infantino promised that Qatar would host the “best” Never having organized the World Cup, the country has come under considerable criticism regarding the rights of migrant workers as well as for its criminalization of homosexuality.