World Cup 2022 group stage will see four games played each day

Fifa announce fixture schedule for finals that will see matches kicking-off at 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm

The Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor will stage the opening game of the 2022 Qatar World Cup. AP
The Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor will stage the opening game of the 2022 Qatar World Cup. AP

Football fans will be able to watch an unprecedented four games a day on television, spread out over 11 hours, during the group stage of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

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.

Kick-off times for the first two rounds of matches will be 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm local time, and 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 and 10pm local time.

"The World Cup is always a festival of football, a real celebration for the fans who come on-site and watch. In Qatar, with the compact nature, this is going to be amplified even more with 32 teams and 32 sets of supporters all in and around Doha," said Fifa chief tournaments and events officer, Colin Smith.

The tournament's opening match will be played at the 60,000 capacity 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 80,000 Lusail Stadium in Doha – which, like Al Bayt, will also host a semi-final – with the showpiece game to be played on Sunday, December 18.

A start date has not yet been fixed for the European section of World Cup qualification. The announcement comes two years to the day since the 2018 World Cup final.

Published: July 15, 2020 05:06 PM

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