Berlin, Aug 10 (Ajit Weekly News) The upcoming football World Cup is to start a day earlier than planned to allow hosts Qatar playing the first match.
DPA and other media have learnt that the council of the world governing body FIFA is dealing with an according request. The match between Qatar and Ecuador on November 20 would start at 7pm (1700 GMT) at Al Bayt Stadium.
FIFA is yet to comment on the issue.
Under the original tournament format the game would have been the third of four matches scheduled for the first day, November 21, starting with the Netherlands v Senegal and the other games being England v Iran and the United States v Wales.
Under the requested change the Netherlands game would then move from a 1pm kick-off slot to the 7pm slot originally for Qatar v Ecuador, while the England and US games would not be affected.
The request was made after an according agreement of both teams and the South American confederation CONMEBOL. It also apparently won’t lead to changes of release dates for players.
The host nation has played the first match between 1958 and 1970, and again since the 2006 tournament in Germany.
The 1974-2002 tournaments were opened by the defending champion who however is no longer automatically qualified. There was no official opening game between 1930 and 1954.
–Ajit Weekly News
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