FIFA moves World Cup start in Qatar up 1 day to Nov. 20

The official ball for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on Doha’s Corniche with the city’s skyline in the background, Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

GENEVA — FIFA has formally moved the World Cup start up by one day to give host nation Qatar an exclusive Sunday evening slot with a global audience.

Qatar will now play Ecuador in Doha on Nov. 20 — just 101 days after FIFA’s decision Thursday — stretching the World Cup to 29 days from the 28 agreed seven years ago when a June-July tournament was pushed back to avoid the searing desert heat in midsummer.

The surprise late switch was signed off by a FIFA committee comprising its president Gianni Infantino and presidents of the six continental soccer bodies. FIFA said the vote was unanimous.

The plan was revealed Wednesday after several rounds of ticket sales to fans worldwide since last year.

“FIFA will seek to address any issues arising from this change in a case-by-case basis,” soccer’s world body said Thursday regarding fans whose travel plans are affected.

The risk to fans “is sufficiently outweighed by the value and benefits of the proposal” commercially, FIFA previously said this week in a letter to soccer officials proposing the switch.

Tags : Qatar