FIFA, the global governing body for football, officially announced that the men’s 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar would start a day earlier than originally scheduled. As such, the host team will face Ecuador in the first game.
The Bureau of FIFA Council unanimously decided that the tournament will begin on November 20, a day earlier than the originally planned date of November 21. Senegal vs. the Netherlands was previously scheduled to open the event.
“The FIFA World Cup 2022 will kick off with an even greater celebration for local and international fans as host country Qatar will now play Ecuador on Sunday, 20 November at 19:00 as part of a stand-alone event,” a statement from FIFA said.
FIFA made the decision, in part, to ensure “the continuity of a long-standing tradition” where the first match of the World Cup features the defending champions or the host team.
The event will now begin on November 20.
Due to this unprecedented move, Senegal vs. Netherlands original match has been rescheduled for November 21 (evening time). These changes have affected ticket holders, as well. FIFA noted that “ticket holders will be duly notified by email that the relevant matches have been rescheduled and their tickets will remain valid irrespective of the new date/time.”
The tournament will now take place from November 20 to December 18.