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Qatar World Cup 2022 opening ceremony to be held before England v Iran match

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Aug-12 11:07 first published at 11:07 AM


12th of August, 2022 posted at 8:05 a.m. On May 23, 2022, the Fifa World Cup trophy is displayed during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum 2022 (WEF) in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland. Reuters The opening ceremony for this year’s World Cup in Qatar will now take place before the host nation kicks off the tournament on Sunday, Nov 20 against Ecuador, world governing body Fifa announced on Thursday (Aug 11).

The original plan was for the opening ceremony to take place before Qatar’s first game on November 21, creating an unusual situation in which two matches – Senegal vs. Netherlands and England vs. Iran – would have taken place before the ceremony.

Normally, the ceremony takes place prior to the start of the tournament’s first game.

After an opening ceremony at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium, Qatar will now make their World Cup debut against Ecuador at 1900 local time.

The change is consistent with the long-standing practice of hosting or holding the first match.

The Group A match between Senegal and the Netherlands, originally scheduled for 1300 local time on November 21, has been pushed back six hours to the 1900 slot vacated by Qatar v Ecuador.

The change has no effect on England’s Group B match against Iran or the United States’ opener against Wales, both of which are scheduled for November 21.

A committee comprised of the heads of Fifa’s six regional confederations and president Gianni Infantino approved the plan.

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“The decision was made after an evaluation of the competition and operational implications, as well as a thorough consultation process and agreement with key stakeholders and the host country,” Fifa stated.

The change extends the World Cup to 29 days until the final on December 18, and comes after several rounds of ticket sales, with organizers selling 1.8 million tickets so far.

“Ticket holders will be duly notified by that the relevant matches have been rescheduled and their tickets will remain valid irrespective of the new date/time,” Fifa added.

“In addition, Fifa will seek to address any issues arising from this change in a case-by-case basis.”

It will be the first World Cup staged in the Middle East and has been pushed back to later in the year than its typical June-July schedule to avoid the region’s punishing summer heat.

The Lusail Stadium, which will host the final, staged its first competitive match earlier on Thursday, with Al Arabi beating Al Rayyan in Qatar’s top division.
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