The FIFA World Cup 2022, due to be played in Qatar, was scheduled to start on November 21. However, it is reported that the organizers are planning to prepone the tournament by a day. The Football Governing Body and the organizers of the tournament have reportedly agreed to the change in dates. As per the original schedule, African champions Senegal would have played the Netherlands on November 21.
On the next day, hosts Qatar and Ecuador would have locked horns with each other. However, the game will now be played on 20th November after the opening ceremony. Notably, in the last four versions of the event, the hosts have played the opening game. Germany beat Costa Rica in 2006, South Africa was held 1-1 by Mexico in 2010, Brazil defeated Croatia in 2014 and Russia eased past Saudi Arabia four years later.
“The plan has to be voted on by the heads of FIFA’s six regional confederations and president Gianni Infantino but, despite the late notice, is expected to win support,” said the Reuters report.
The last time when a home team didn’t play the opening game was in 2002. In that tournament, Senegal memorably beat defending champions France in the opening game held in South Korea and Japan. Another notable thing is that the tournament is hosted during the domestic season of European countries i.e., November and December.
The reason for the tournament to be played at this time is the extremely hot conditions in Qatar. This is the first time in the 92-year-old history of the tournament that the tournament will be played at this time of the year. The 21st November- 18th December was the window chosen to host the tournament so that European clubs could play on the Nov. 12-13 weekend before releasing their players for the major event.
The final will be played on a Sunday, i.e., on Qatar’s National Day, allowing a full week for players to return to clubs before the Premier League plays its traditional Boxing Day games on Dec. 26.