The starting date of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is set to be pushed ahead by one day to permit hosts Qatar to be involved in the first match.
The competition had initially been booked to start off on Monday 21 November with African champions Senegal taking on The Netherlands in Group A.
In any case, FIFA presently plans to move have country Qatar’s first game against Ecuador – likewise in Group A – forward to Sunday 20 November as the curtain-raiser.
This presently can’t seem to be confirmed with approval being sought from by the Bureau of the FIFA Council (included FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the heads of each continental confederation) yet it is believed to be a convention, as indicated by various reports. It will imply that the competition will presently be organized from 20 November through to the 18 December last.
The host nation have participated in the opening game of each of the last four editions of the tournament; Germany beat Costa Rica in 2006, South Africa were held 1-1 by Mexico in 2010, Brazil defeated Croatia in 2014 and Russia eased past Saudi Arabia four years later.
The last tournament in which the hosts did not begin the tournament was in 2002, when Senegal memorably beat defending champions France in the opening game of the tournament held in South Korea and Japan. Tradition in the tournament subsequently changed from the competition holders playing in the first game to the host nation.
England’s scheduled match against Iran in Group on 21 November is not going to change date or time, but that will no longer be the opening day of the tournament.
Football’s most prestigious tournament is traditionally held over the summer months but it is being staged across November and December this year due to the weather in host nation Qatar having excessive heat over summer.