Both Manchester United and Manchester City will see big changes installed to their fixture schedules for the 2022/23 season because of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In a controversial plan, the World Cup will be held in November and December next year, opposed to the regular slot of June and July, because of the temperatures that Qatar experiences during the summer.
The decision to move football’s festival to later in the year will, of course, have a major impact on domestic leagues around the world, not least in England.
According to a report by The Times, the 2022/23 Premier League season will get under way earlier than usual, with the first round of fixtures set to be played set to be played on August 6, with clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two set to get their schedules under way on July 30.
Starting on August 6 would see Premier League clubs play 16 matches before the World Cup starts on November 21. They would then play a further 22 matches once the tournament reaches its conclusion on December 18. Should all go to plan, the Premier League season would be concluded on May 28, 2023.
As well as the Premier League season being impacted, both the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup will be impacted. The Champions League final, which will be held in Turkey, has been pencilled in, according to the report, to be staged on June 10, with the FA Cup final set to take place a week earlier on June 3.
It is unprecedented for the FA Cup final to be held in June, even though it had to be held in August in 2020 because of the pandemic and the period when football was sent into shutdown mode.
It is reported that some Premier League clubs are hoping to secure confirmation on the start date for the 2022/23 campaign as soon as possible to plan for pre-season tours. There are concerns and questions are poised to be discussed at a meeting between the clubs in London today [Wednesday].
As for European matters, UEFA wants to hold all six group games in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League before November 2.
Should that prove to be the case, it is likely to mean that outside of the international breaks there will be a European club match every midweek in September and October, except for the one week when the Carabao Cup third round will take centre stage.
The final round of league fixtures in England will be held on November 12 and 13 before the seven-day World Cup call-up period starts on November 14. There will be a break in the Premier League and the Championship from then but Championship matches are scheduled to resume once the World Cup group stages have reached their conclusion on December 4.
Domestic football will resume again immediately after the World Cup final, with 16 teams due to compete in the Carabao Cup fourth round on December 21 and a full round of league matches on Boxing Day, as per English tradition.
Players will not get a winter break during the 2022/23 season, but there will have been no major international tournament in the summer of 2022 so players will have had an opportunity to recharge their batteries then, following the end of this season.
Nevertheless, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) is reported to have concerns around the demands that will be made of some players in terms of the number of fixtures, and is planning to speak with the Premier League and the EFL to seek clarity about what might happen.
As quoted by The Times, a PFA source said: “We have not received anything formally concerning the plan for the 2022-23 season and clearly fixture congestion is a big issue for us.”