FIFA has confirmed the match schedule for the 2022 World Cup, which will take place in Qatar from November to December. The tournament will start on November 21. (More Football News)
The 2022 World Cup will have four games every day in a 12-day group stage and matches later in the tournament that go into extra time will extend past midnight in Qatar. Most of the matches in the first-ever World Cup to be hosted by the Middle-East will have kick-off timings conducive for viewing in India. But, once the draw has been made, FIFA will consider changing kick-off times to provide a more beneficial experience for audiences watching from around the globe.
FIFA released the schedule on Wednesday, with the hosts Qatar kicking off the tournament at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium on 21, 2022 at 15:30 IST (13:00 local time ).
The kick-off times for group matches have been set for 15:30 IST, 18:30 IST, 21:30 IST and 00:30 IST, with the simultaneous kick-offs for the last round of group games and knockout-stage timings being 20:30 IST and 00:30 IST.
Khalifa International Stadium will be the setting for the play-off for third place on 17 December. The final will kick off one day later at 20:30 IST at Lusail Stadium in front of an 80,000 crowd.
"Once the pairings are known, the possibility will be discussed of providing a more beneficial kickoff time for audiences at home, or indeed for fans in Qatar with regard to the stadium allocation," FIFA said in a statement.
Eight venues in close proximity to Doha will be used at the tournament, which will be played in 28 days rather than the 32 days used at the last World Cup in Russia to minimize the disruption to the European season.
Teams and fans will not need to fly around Qatar because stadiums are within a 30-mile radius.
Both semifinals — like some games in the previous rounds — will kick off at 10 p.m. (local time) and will spill over into the next day if there is extra time, or even just long injury and VAR delays in regular time.
There is no space for a gap without games between the group stage and round of 16. Most teams will get three days of rest between games, which FIFA said was "optimum for sporting performance."
But teams in two last-16 matches will only have two days of rest. For the third-place playoff, one losing semifinalist will have two recovery days while the other has three.
FIFA is looking to stage the draw for the tournament in late March or early April 2022, when 30 of the 32 finalists will be known.
This is the second time the World Cup is being hosted in Asia. Japan and South Korea played hosts to the mega-event in 2002.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine