FIFA have confirmed that the opening match of this year’s World Cup will take place a day earlier than originally scheduled, as relayed by Sky Sports.
Initially, the tournament was planned to begin on November 21, with the first game being Senegal vs Netherlands at 10am GMT. This was to be followed by England vs Iran (1pm GMT), Qatar vs Ecuador (4pm GMT), and USA vs Wales (7pm GMT).
This schedule went against usual World Cup tradition, in which the host nation or the defending champions would participate in the opening game.
However, this is no longer the case. FIFA have announced that Qatar vs Ecuador has been moved forward by a day, and will now be played on November 20 at 7pm GMT. The opening ceremony has been moved with it to take place before the start of the tournament.
Consequently, Senegal’s clash with Netherlands has also been rearranged, and will now be played at 4pm GMT. No other games have been affected thus far.
Regarding the changes, FIFA released a statement. As quoted by Sky Sports, the world football governing body said: “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.
“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 and time. In addition, FIFA will seek to address any issues arising from this change in a case-by-case basis.”
The decision has been slammed by some, with critics claiming that it shows a lack of consideration towards supporters who had already planned their journeys.
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