Qatar World Cup to start a day earlier to give host opening game
According to multiple media reports Wednesday, the council of the world governing body FIFA is dealing with an according request.
The match between Qatar and Ecuador on Nov. 20 would start at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) at Al Bayt Stadium.
FIFA is yet to comment on the issue.
Under the original tournament format, the game would have been the third of four matches scheduled for the first day, Nov. 21, starting with the Netherlands vs. Senegal and the other games being England vs. Iran and the United States vs. Wales.
Under the requested change the Netherlands game would then move from a 1 p.m. kick-off slot to the 7 p.m. slot originally for Qatar vs. Ecuador, while the England and U.S. games would not be affected.
The request was made after an agreement between both teams and the South American confederation CONMEBOL. It also apparently won't lead to changes of release dates for players.
The host nation has played the first match between 1958 and 1970, and again since the 2006 tournament in Germany.
The 1974-2002 tournaments were opened by the defending champion who however is no longer automatically qualified. There was no official opening game between 1930 and 1954.