FIFA in talks over request for World Cup to kick off a day earlier than planned

The finals could begin a day earlier than scheduled – on Sunday, November 20 – to allow Qatar-Ecuador to be the only game of the opening day.

By Press Association Published: 10 August 2022 - 11.19am

The World Cup could begin a day earlier than planned after a proposal was put to FIFA requesting hosts Qatar kick off the finals.

The tournament is scheduled to start on Monday, November 21 with the Group A clash between Holland and Senegal.

Qatar are in the same group but are slated to take part in the third match, taking on Ecuador after England start their campaign against Group B rivals Iran.

The World Cup draw initially set up Holland v Senegal to open the finals.
The World Cup draw initially set up Holland v Senegal to open the finals (Nick Potts/PA)

However, it is customary for the hosts to open the tournament and the PA news agency understands FIFA is currently considering a proposal to shift the start date to Sunday, November 20.

That would allow Qatar v Ecuador to take place at 1900 local time, with the fixture the only one to be played on the Sunday.

The request, which follows the agreement of both teams as well as CONMEBOL, is now with the FIFA Council – which includes the presidents of the six confederations.

England manager Gareth Southgate's preparations would remain unchanged should the World Cup start a day earlier.
England manager Gareth Southgate’s preparations would remain unchanged should the World Cup start a day earlier (Trenka Attila/PA)

England’s opener at the Khalifa International Stadium would not be affected and neither would the other Group B clash – which sees Wales face the United States.

Holland v Senegal would be set move to the timeslot currently occupied by Qatar, meaning it would be sandwiched between the England and Wales matches.

It is also understood that, as things stands, moving the game forward would also not have any impact on the release dates for players from their clubs.

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