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Qatar to kick off 2022 World Cup on November 21

Unlike the previous FIFA World Cup competitions, which usually started in the second week of June and ended in the second week of July every four years, the Qatar 2022 championship will kick off towards the end of November and end on the second week of December.

According to a statement by the world football governing body, FIFA, the 2022 competition will feature four matches a day throughout the group stage to ensure optimal rest time for the teams.

FIFA said Qatar’s unique footprint allows later assignment of group matches for the benefit and comfort of fans.

FIFA revealed that the Al Bayt Stadium, which is a 60,000-capacity arena that takes its name and shape from the traditional tents used by nomadic peoples in the Gulf region, will be the stage for hosts Qatar to kick off the tournament November 21 at 13:00 local time.

“The local kick-off times for group matches have been set for 13:00, 16:00, 19:00 and 22:00, with the simultaneous kick-offs for the last round of group games and knockout-stage timings being 18:00 and 22:00,” FIFA said, adding, “Khalifa International Stadium will be the setting for the play-off for third place on December 17. The final will kick off one day later at 18:00 at Lusail Stadium in front of an 80,000 crowd.”

It added that 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. The tournament’s compact nature – with no air travel needed to move between the venues – will allow organisers, for the first time, to optimise specific match demands for the benefit and comfort of fans, teams and media.

“This will be achieved through the assignment of the group fixtures for each matchday to a stadium and kick-off time only after the final draw, currently planned for after the March 2022 international match calendar qualifying window.

“Once the pairings are known, the possibility will be discussed of providing a more beneficial kick-off time for audiences at home, or indeed for fans in Qatar with regard to the stadium allocation.”

It explains that the additional flexibility is possible without affecting any technical aspects since all stadiums are located within a compact radius and the climate is perfect at that time of year in Qatar, whether it is an early or a late kick-off.

“On top of that, this will potentially give fans the opportunity to attend more than one match a day during the group stage.

“For those eager to book their seats at Qatar 2022, hospitality sales are scheduled to start in late 2020. Ticket sales for the general public will be conducted solely via FIFA.com/tickets, where details on the timeline, phases, categories and prices will be communicated in due course.”

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