BY KUNLE SOLAJA
The final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be played just seven days before Christmas as FIFA on Wednesday mapped out the final dates of the first World Cup not to hold in summer. The final match will be played on 18 December.
The tournament will begin on 21 November 21. Four group matches are to be held each day until 2 December. The group games will be played over a 12-day period. But no match has yet been assigned to particular venues until the finals’ draw in March 2022.
This is to ensure optimal kick-off times to suit television audiences in different countries. But kick-off times for the first two rounds of matches have been tentatively put at 1pm (10am GMT), 4pm (1pm GMT), 7pm (4pm GMT) and 10pm (7pm GMT) local time.
If the Super Eagles qualify, Nigerians will be watching the team and others play at about 10am Nigerian time. Football fans that are workers will be struggling to watch the matches. Since
The group games will be played over a 12-day period, with matches not being assigned to particular venues until after the finals draw in March 2022 in order to choose optimal kick-off times to suit television audiences in different countries as well as supporters out in Qatar.
With the stadiums all within a 40-mile radius of each other it will enable supporters and media to realistically attend two games on the same day.
For all but three games there will be a three-day rest period in between. There will also be no need for teams, supporters or media to spend time flying or taking long rail or road journeys between matches.
Kick-off times in the final round of group games and knock-out round matches will be at 6pm (3pm GMT) and 10pm (7pm GMT) local time.
The tournament’s opening match will be played at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor on Monday, November 21 in a match which will feature the host country.
The 2022 final venue is the Lusail Stadium in Doha, with the showpiece game to be played on Sunday, December 18.