The global football governing body, FIFA, on Friday officially announced the preponement of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar by a day. The board announced that the tournament will kick off with a match between host nation Qatar and Ecuador on 20 November rather than the earlier announced date of 21 November. Meanwhile, the match between Senegal and the Netherlands has also been rescheduled due to this little tweak in the original schedule.
The two teams will now take on each other on 21 November from 19:00 (Local Time) instead of 13:00 (Local Time). Meanwhile, the match between Qatar and Ecuador will now be a stand-alone event with the two teams taking on each other from 19:00 (Local Time) on 20 November.
"The opening match and ceremony of this year’s tournament at Al Bayt Stadium have been brought forward one day following a unanimous decision taken by the Bureau of the FIFA Council today. Consequently, the encounter between Senegal and the Netherlands has been rescheduled from 13:00 to 19:00 on Monday, 21 November," FIFA said in an official statement on Friday.
"The change ensures the continuity of a long-standing tradition of marking the start of the FIFA World Cup™ with an opening ceremony on the occasion of the first match featuring either the hosts or the defending champions. The decision followed an assessment of the competition and operational implications, as well as a thorough consultation process and an agreement with key stakeholders and the host country," it added.
Notably, the host nation has taken part in the opening matches each of the last four editions of the FIFA World Cup. The last time a host team did not take part in the opening game was way back in 2002 when Senegal memorably beat defending champions France in the opening game of the tournament held in South Korea and Japan.
Release Period to remain unchanged
The governing body further informed that the release period will remain unchanged and will start on 14 November 2022. "The release period, as previously decided and as governed by the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, will remain unchanged, beginning on 14 November 2022," said FIFA.