The World Cup in Qatar will start a day ahead of schedule if the ruling Fifa office agrees to a plan to hold the opening ceremony and the host country’s first game on Sunday 20 November.
Originally, the opening ceremony was planned to be held before Qatar’s game against Ecuador on November 21, leading to the unusual situation that two games were played before the ceremony.
Usually the ceremony takes place before the kick-off of the first game of the tournament.
The Group A game between Senegal and the Netherlands and the Group B game between England and Iran were scheduled to take place before Monday’s ceremony.
The plan needs to be agreed by the heads of Fifa’s six regional confederations and President Gianni Infantino, but is expected to gain support despite the late announcement.
The move to an opening ceremony and game on November 20 would allow the game between Senegal and the Netherlands, scheduled at 1pm local time on November 21, to kick off later in the day. Group B games that day, which also include USA vs Wales, would not be affected.
Another source close to the proposal said the move could be confirmed as early as Thursday and plans are in place to ensure fans don’t have to pay for flight or accommodation changes.
“The financial impact for fans has been assessed and any additional costs to fans will be met by the organizers, but it is unclear who will bear these costs, whether it is Fifa, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy or another entity ‘ he told the source.
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“The organizers will ensure that any additional costs incurred by fans changing travel bookings or accommodation will not be borne by them and this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis,” the source added.
It was not clear what the mechanism will be to manage compensation for fans.