The World Cup could start a day earlier if Qatar satisfies the FIFA Infantino Committee

The World Cup could start a day earlier if Qatar satisfies the FIFA Infantino Committee

GENEVA – Hosts Qatar are set to play in their first World Cup tournament – and a single day is being added to the schedule less than 100 days before kick-off.

Soccer’s marquee tournament is now starting a day earlier than originally scheduled seven years ago, allowing Qatar to play Ecuador on Nov. 20, a person familiar with the proposal told The Associated Press on Wednesday. you said

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak on the matter.

The proposal will be presented to a committee that includes FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the heads of six continental football governing bodies, the person said. A decision is expected this week.

According to a letter sent by FIFA this week and seen by the AP, the governing body is seeking approval from the continent’s soccer bodies on Thursday.

Qatar must now secure Sunday’s special venue for its opening ceremony and World Cup kick-off at the 60,000-capacity Al Bait Stadium.

The World Cup currently kicks off on Monday, November 21, based on FIFA’s decision in 2015 to move the tournament back to avoid the scorching desert heat in June and July. FIFA also agreed to a shorter, 28-day program to reduce disruption to domestic football, particularly in Europe, which will be shut down ahead of the World Cup.

Recent World Cup tradition has given 2014 hosts Brazil and 2018 hosts Russia special opening days to play their first opponents. But the tight schedule in Qatar demanded four games per day for the entire group stage – 48 games in 12 days.

In the final of the tournament in Doha on 1 April, the Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador were drawn in Group A with Qatar. Netherlands and Senegal started at 1 pm local time and Qatar will play the third match with Ecuador six hours later.

A proposal to create a 29-day tournament instead of 28 has been favored by Qatari officials and South American soccer body CONMEBOL, with talks also involving the soccer federations of Qatar and Ecuador, the person told the AP.

FIFA acknowledged in its letter that changing the date after tickets went on sale would affect some fans on the tour. However, FIFA said that “any risk is sufficiently outweighed by the value and benefits of the offer” commercially.

The Qatar-Ecuador match involves only a handful of players with European clubs. Most of the potential Ecuadorians play for clubs in Spain, the United States and Mexico, where the leagues stop play before the Nov. 12-13 weekend.

The schedule switch will be hard to agree if Qatar opens against Holland, which has key members playing with clubs in England and Italy until November 13.

Due to the proposal, FIFA is expected to postpone the Netherlands-Senegal match from lunchtime until the evening when it is vacated by Qatar.

While Sunday evening’s opening game in Qatar should play well with audiences in Asia and Europe, the World Cup in the United States is in direct competition with NFL games. The United States soccer team makes its World Cup opener against Wales late Monday in Qatar.

The 2022 World Cup is the first in the tournament’s 92-year history to be played outside the traditional northern hemisphere summer. The previous 21 editions were all played between late May and the end of July.

The November 21-December 18 tournament schedule has been agreed so European clubs can play the weekend of November 12-13 before releasing their players to the 32 World Cup squads. FIFA said in its letter that changing the opening day should not change tournament rules, which require players to report from their clubs to national teams after November 14.

The final will be played on Qatar National Day, Sunday, allowing players a full week to return to clubs before the Premier League plays its traditional Boxing Day games on December 26.

Qatar’s original bid was set to host the tournament in June-July, with innovative stadium cooling technology promising to overcome temperatures expected to reach 45 degrees Celsius during the first World Cup in the Middle East ( 113 degrees Fahrenheit).

In December 2010, Qatar won a controversial bid, beating the United States 14–8 in the final round of voting by FIFA’s executive committee. He was later discredited by a widespread corruption scandal.

After more than four years, FIFA moved the tournament to be held on dates when the temperature should be between 25 and 30 degrees.

Now, another seven years later, the date is set to change again.

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