Qatar World Cup to kick off a day early as opening game is brought forward
Group A rivals Senegal and Holland – who were due to get the tournament under way at 1pm local time (10am GMT) on Monday, November 21 – will now kick off at 7pm (4pm GMT) that day, three hours after England play their opening game against Iran in Group B.
Wales’ opening group game is unaffected by the change, as they kick of their first game in the World Cup finals since 1958 as scheduled against the USA at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium at 7pm on 21 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,” said a statement from football’s world governing body.
“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.”
FIFA has said the the release period for players at the 2022 World Cup remains unchanged, beginning on November 14.
The FIFA statement added: “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.
“In addition, FIFA will seek to address any issues arising from this change in a case-by-case basis.
“The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match schedule, as well as the competition regulations, have been amended accordingly.”
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