Qatar World Cup to undergo late changes – media – RT Sport News
The tournament is set to start a day earlier than expected, according to reports
Kick-off for this year’s World Cup in Qatar will now take place a day earlier after FIFA intervened to ensure the host nation would be involved in the first match, according to reports.
The showpiece event in world football was due to begin on Monday, November 21, with AFCON winners Senegal taking on the Netherlands in a Group A game. However, FIFA has brought forward Qatar’s match against Ecuador, meaning the tournament will now start on Sunday. , November 20.
News of the late change has yet to be confirmed by FIFA, but multiple reports, including from Reuters, indicate that the change will be officially announced by the FIFA Council Office shortly.
The Bureau of the FIFA Council is made up of FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the leaders of the various continental federations. The impending change means the World Cup will now take place between November 20 and the final on December 18.
It has become a tradition for the host country to play the first match of a World Cup; something that has happened in the last four iterations of the tournament.
Hosts Germany beat Costa Rica in 2006, while South Africa drew with Mexico in 2010 and Brazil beat Croatia in 2014.
Russia, meanwhile, beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the 2018 World Cup opener.
It used to be common for World Cup holders to play in the opening game – but this was last done in 2002 when France lost dramatically to Senegal in the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
The Qatar World Cup, however, has already bucked tradition by taking place in December to prevent players from being subjected to intense summer heat in the Middle Eastern country – which has proven to be a controversial decision, as it comes in the middle of the European football calendar and forcing many major leagues to take a six-week break mid-season.
Critics have said the World Cup would be an unwanted intrusion into European football’s various domestic calendars, with many wondering how a country not traditionally associated with football was awarded the hosting rights for the most the sport’s biggest event – especially amid a veil of human rights abuse allegations. collected from the Qatari authorities.
The English Premier League will return on December 26, a week after the conclusion of the World Cup.
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