FIFA announces schedule for 2022 World Cup in Qatar
Fans around the globe will be treated to four group-stage matches per day when the 2022 World Cup kicks off, as FIFA revealed the schedule and times for the unprecedented tournament in Qatar on Wednesday.
The world football governing body announced that the opening match will take place on Nov. 21 at the 60,000 capacity Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
The 32-team tournament will wrap up a week before Christmas, with the final set for Dec. 18 at the 80,000-seat Lusail Stadium.
With four matches scheduled daily during the first phase of the competition, the early game will kick off at 1:00 p.m. local time, with the last contest of the day finishing around midnight.
Teams will get three days of rest between matches during the group stage, and air travel won't be necessary for players, coaches, and supporters due to the compact size of the Arab nation, FIFA says.
"With the aim of providing all teams with optimal rest between their matches, the group stage will last 12 days and, with four matches per day, it promises a full and exciting schedule for fans," a statement on FIFA's website read. "The tournament’s compact nature - with no air travel needed to move between the venues - will allow organizers, for the first time, to optimize specific match demands for the benefit and comfort of fans, teams, and media."
The World Cup is traditionally played in June and July, but the tournament in Qatar was altered due to the extreme summer heat in the country.
FIFA was initially scheduled to hold the tournament draw in April 2022, but it's been moved back to June 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.