As a result of a decision made unanimously by FIFA, the opening ceremony and game of this year’s tournament at Al Bayt Stadium have been moved up one day.
The decision was made after consideration of the “competition and operational ramifications” and discussions with key players and the host nation, according to the football governing body, which announced it on Thursday.
FIFA has officially moved the World Cup start-up by one day and assigned the host nation Qatar a unique Sunday evening time with a large international viewership.
Tournament organizers in the tiny, gas-rich emirate, South American football governing body CONMEBOL, and the national football federations of the two sides were claimed to be in favor of the date modification.
Qatar will now play Ecuador in Doha on November 20 — just 101 days following FIFA’s decision Thursday — extending the World Cup from the 28 days agreed upon seven years ago after a June-July event was postponed to avoid the sweltering desert heat in midsummer.
The unexpected last-minute change was approved by a FIFA committee made up of its president Gianni Infantino and the heads of the six continental football federations. According to FIFA, every vote was accepted.
The idea was unveiled on Wednesday, following multiple rounds of ticket sales to fans around the world since last year.
Since the tournament in Germany in 2006, the host nation has competed in one match.
For the first time, the World Cup is being held in the Arab World this year.
The World Cup in 2022 will also be the first time in the tournament’s 92-year history that it will be held in November and December. The preceding 21 editions all took place between late May and late July.
FIFA approved a decision in 2015 to play in the northern fall season to escape Qatar’s summer heat, amid resistance from major European football bodies, who were irritated by having to close their domestic leagues for three prime weeks.
The event final will be held on December 18, Qatar’s National Day.