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This week marks 100 days until World Cup – although start date still unclear

The World Cup will kick-off a day earlier than scheduled if FIFA’s ruling bureau agrees to a plan to hold the opening ceremony and the host nation’s first match on Sunday November 20, a source close to the discussions told Reuters.

If the original date remains, then 100 days to go will be on Saturday (August 13), however if the opening day is moved then 100 days to go would be marked on Friday.

The original plan was for the opening ceremony to be held before Qatar’s game on November 21 against Ecuador — which created the unusual situation of two matches being held before the ceremony.

Normally the ceremony is conducted before the kick-off of the first game of the tournament.

The Group A match between Senegal and Netherlands and the Group B match between England and Iran were scheduled to take place before the ceremony on Monday.

The plan has to be voted on by the heads of FIFA’s six regional confederations and president Gianni Infantino, despite the late notice, is expected to win support.

The switch to a November 20 opening ceremony and game would allow the Senegal-Netherlands match, scheduled for 13:00 local time on November 21, to kick off later in the day. The Group B matches on that day, which also include the United States against Wales, would be unaffected.

Another source said the switch could be confirmed as early as Thursday and that the plan was to ensure that fans did not have to pay for any changes to flights or accommodation.

“The financial impact to fans has been assessed and that any additional costs to fans will be absorbed by organisers, but it is unclear who will bear these costs, whether it is FIFA, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy or another entity,” said the source.

It was not clear what the mechanism will be to manage any compensation for fans.

Qatar will be hosting the first World Cup in the Middle East, the first in a Muslim state, and for the fact that no other tournament has ever been held during the northern hemisphere winter.

Qatar, which is roughly the size of Jamaica, is also the smallest state to have held football’s biggest event, with fans from the 32 competing nations set to watch games at eight stadiums clustered around the only major city, Doha.

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