(Al Jazeera) The Qatar World Cup 2022 looks set to start a day earlier than scheduled allowing the hosts to play the opening game of the tournament on November 20 following the opening ceremony.
In the current fixture list released after the draw on April 1, Netherlands and Senegal play the first match of the World Cup at 1 pm (10:00 GMT) on November 21 with Qatar taking on Ecuador at 7 pm (16:00 GMT) in the third match taking place on the opening day.
However, a proposal to create a 29-day tournament instead of 28 has been agreed by Qatari officials and South American football body CONMEBOL, with talks also involving the Qatar and Ecuador football federations.
The host nation has played the first match since the 2006 tournament in Germany.
The move could be approved by the FIFA Council before the 100-day countdown starts this week.
If approved, the opening ceremony also looks set to take place at Al Bayt Stadium, which will host the Qatar-Ecuador game, with Netherlands versus Senegal taking up the evening spot the following day.
The 2022 World Cup is the first in the tournament’s 92-year history to be played in November and December. The previous 21 editions were all played between late May and the end of July.
FIFA finalised a decision in 2015 to avoid the heat in Qatar’s summer and move to November and December, despite opposition from most European football bodies that were unhappy at shutting down their domestic leagues for several peak weeks.
The final of the tournament will take place on December 18, Qatar’s National Day.