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FIFA changing 2022 world cup starting date, here’s why

Gianni Infantino
Gianni Infantino. Photo/Front Office Sports
  • FIFA will give Qatar permission to advance their first fixture
  • Qatar could play in the opening game of the World Cup
  • Qatar is excited to get the first game of the World Cup underway when they face Ecuador

FIFA will give Qatar permission to advance their first fixture so that they can play in the opening game of the World Cup.

The hosts of the 2022 World Cup have asked for the start date to be moved just three months before the event is scheduled to begin.

The first World Cup to be held in the Northern Hemisphere and in the winter months rather than the summer months was scheduled to begin on November 21, with Senegal playing the Netherlands in Doha.

However, Qatar is excited to get the first game of the World Cup underway when they face Ecuador. According to The Athletics, FIFA is evaluating the request and is likely to approve the alteration to the schedule, which will have consequences for future World Cup fixtures.


The original plan called for the third match between Qatar and Ecuador to occur on Monday, November 21, after Senegal and the Netherlands and England and Iran.

Qatar World Cup

Qatar World Cup. Photo/Sky Sports

However, the organizers are eager to take part in the opening match, therefore, they have requested that the Middle Eastern nation move its fixture up by one day to November 20.

Twelve years after the decision to award the World Cup to the Gulf nation of Qatar was finalized, the reasons for Qatar’s proposed adjustments remain unclear.

However, Tariq Panja of The New York Times claims that the Emir of Qatar moved the celebration to a different day in order to stage a more impressive fireworks show.


FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, and the heads of each continental confederation, from UEFA to CONMEBOL, make up the Bureau of the FIFA Council and must endorse the decision.

It is anticipated, however, that the change will pass without hitch. To kick off the tournament in style, Qatar wants to use the brand new, 60,000-seat Al Bayt Stadium which reportedly cost the country over £650 million to construct.

However, they would need to make an exception request due to new rules for the first match.

The defending champions were always included in the opening game between 1974 and 2002. But, it was determined that the host nation should play in the first game because, from 2006 to 2018, the previous winners no longer qualified automatically.

Russia’s 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the 2018 World Cup continued the unbroken streak of home teams in opening-round tournaments.

In 1998, when Brazil beat Scotland 2-1 at Stade de France, the first game featured opponents that were not the host nation.


According to the new plan, the World Cup would start on November 20, one day earlier than originally planned.

Due to this, there will only be one match played that day between Qatar and Ecuador. There will now only be three contests on the 21st of November.

England’s game against Iran will now be the tournament’s second match, but this won’t affect their plans. The start time of their game will remain at 4 o’clock in the afternoon local time (1pm GMT).

Since Gareth Southgate and his coaching team will have the same amount of time to prepare for the match as previously, they can heave a sigh of relief.

Qatar World Cup stadium

Qatar World Cup stadium. Photo/The Stadium Guide


Date Country/Fixture Time
November 20 Qatar vs Ecuador 4 pm GMT
November 21 England vs Iran 1 pm GMT
November 21 Senegal vs Netherlands 4 pm GMT
November 21 USA vs Wales 7 pm GMT


Meanwhile, this will be the world’s first global football competition with so many restrictions. Fans attending the FIFA 2022 Qatar World Cup will have a sobering ninety minutes of the tournament following an alcohol ban by the Gulf Arab state.

There will be no sale of alcohol inside the stadiums hosting this year’s World Cup. Spectators will have to brace themselves for sobriety by default.

Qatar, like many other Arab states, has a rule prohibiting drinking in public, and the most recent move will be a severe blow to the nearly 1.2 million fans attending the World Cup games.

Fans will, however, be able to purchase their preferred beers during restricted times and at specific venues in Doha.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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