Surprise date change eclipses World Cup 100-day countdown

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Doha, (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News – Aug 12, 2022): Organizers FIFA and Qatar on Friday estimated the cost of bringing the World Cup start one day forward as they kicked off the count at countdown of 100 days before the event.

Football’s governing body and the wealthy Gulf state both promised measures to help fans, sponsors and broadcasters affected by the change, announced on Thursday evening, but did not give details.

The sudden decision to bring Qatar’s game against Ecuador forward by 24 hours – to make it the gala opener – has only deepened public relations problems as the conservative host country clashes to criticism over his rights record and that fans are worried about what to expect when they arrive.

“It’s less than three months from the start. It came out of nowhere. It’s not critical but it’s a headache,” said an official from a World Cup broadcaster, speaking on condition of anonymity.

FIFA said its president Gianni Infantino and the six heads of the continental confederations had unanimously agreed to make the Qatar match and official opening ceremony a “stand-alone” event.

“This change continues a long-standing tradition of marking the start of the World Cup with an opening ceremony in the first match with either the hosts or the defending champions,” said FIFA in a statement.

According to the old schedule, Qatar v Ecuador was to be the official opening match on the evening of November 21 but Senegal v Netherlands would have been the first match of the day, followed by England v Israel. Iran.

– Help ‘case by case’ – Under the new plan, the Group A game between Senegal and the Netherlands has been moved from 13:00 (10:00 GMT) on November 21 to 19:00.

FIFA said tickets for the affected matches “will remain valid regardless of the new date/time”. He added: “Furthermore, FIFA will seek to resolve any issues arising from this change on a case-by-case basis.” Qatari organizers, who have spent billions preparing for the event since winning the hosting rights in 2010, hailed FIFA’s gesture for their “unique opportunity” to host the event.

“The impact of this decision on supporters has been assessed by FIFA. We will work together to ensure a smooth tournament for supporters affected by the change,” the organizers added in a statement, without giving details.

Some Ecuadorian fans may have to change flights to arrive in Qatar earlier and football sources have said the date change could force changes to World Cup commercial contracts.

Ricardo Fort, a sports industry consultant and former head of sports marketing for Coca Cola – a major FIFA backer – said the date change would be “a huge problem for sponsors”.

“They have invited and confirmed guests, booked flights and hotels, and contracted all the necessary logistics. Imagine changing everything! Fort wrote on Twitter.

But some businesses linked to the tournament, the first World Cup in an Arab country, expressed confidence that any disruption would be overcome.

“It’s something we’ll manage,” said Jaime Byrom, chairman of Match Hospitality, which has a contract with FIFA to organize hospitality packages for World Cup matches and has blocked 450,000 tickets. for the tournament.

“It’s really not – compared to other challenges we might have faced or have faced in the past – a particularly big problem,” Byrom told AFP.

“In this case, we will review our Ecuadorian customers who are traveling from abroad and make sure they are on time for the match.” The official countdown clocks for the event were quickly changed and the 100-day events were hastily moved from Saturday to Friday.

FIFA has already made significant arrangements with Qatar, moving the tournament to the winter months for the first time to avoid Qatar’s scorching heat.

The massive preparations also shed light on Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and the rights of LGBTQ visitors. Homosexuality is illegal, while alcohol is severely restricted in the Muslim state.

However, Infantino insisted it will be the ‘best’ World Cup ever.

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