DOHA: FIFA formally moved the opening match of this year’s World Cup up by one day to November 20 in an unusual alteration to accommodate hosts Qatar.
FIFA’s top officials unanimously approved the decision, according to a statement, while Qatar said it will provide unspecified assistance to fans affected by the change.
On the old schedule, Qatar would have faced Ecuador in the formal inauguration match on November 21, but Senegal would face the Netherlands first. Second would have been England vs. Iran.
Qatar was also dissatisfied since it had invested heavily in a massive opening ceremony show.”Host country Qatar will now play Ecuador as part of a stand-alone event on Sunday 20 November,” FIFA announced.
“The opening match and ceremony of this year’s tournament at Al Bayt Stadium have been moved ahead one day following a unanimous decision by the FIFA Council Bureau today.”