World Cup May Start One Day Earlier With Qatar-Ecuador Game
This year’s football world cup may be moved up by a day as FIFA weighs a last-minute change to a tournament Qatar’s spent more than 12 years preparing for.
(Bloomberg) — This year’s football world cup may be moved up by a day as FIFA weighs a last-minute change to a tournament Qatar’s spent more than 12 years preparing for.
FIFA is considering a request from the South American Football Confederation for hosts Qatar to play Ecuador a day earlier than previously planned, according to a person familiar with matter. The FIFA Council, led by Gianni Infantino, may make a ruling as soon as this week, the person said.
If the change is approved, the tournament will start on November 20 and run for 29 days. It will also give Qatar an exclusive game on day one — as the schedule currently stands, the Qatar-Ecuador game is one of four matches set for November 21.
FIFA expects the change to have minimal impact on fans, and will deal any issues on a “case-by-case” manner, the person familiar said.
Associated Press reported the news earlier. Representatives for FIFA didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Qatar won the rights for the world cup in 2010, overcoming concerns about high temperatures and lack of infrastructure. The country is set to attract 1.2 million visitors during the event, which it estimates will add as much as $17 billion to its economy.
Qatar wants to use the tournament to showcase its rapid expansion to an energy-exporting power and transit hub. Still, the tournament has been beset with controversies, including over the treatment of migrant workers many from poorer countries.
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