Qatar 2022: how will football squeeze in a November/December World Cup?

Originally planned as the traditional start in summer, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been postponed to autumn.

The reason for the move is temperatures in the Middle Eastern country, which climb to an average daily high of over 41 degrees Celsius (106F) in July. Obviously, that kind of heat would be dangerous for players and fans alike, which is why FIFA made the unprecedented decision to start the tournament in mid-November, when daily highs sit at a far more manageable 26°C (79°F).

However, the postponement will have repercussions for the rest of the football world, particularly domestic club leagues, which are obliged to suspend play at least a week before the opening game in Qatar. With many major European games regularly falling within the timeframe now set for the World Cup, some compromises had to be made.

So many of the world’s biggest leagues have been impacted by Qatar 2022’s unique schedule:

UEFA Champions League

Even the biggest club competition in the world cannot escape the impact of Qatar 2022.

The group stage, which normally lasts until December, will now be a two-month sprint, starting on September 6th and ending on November 2nd. That means all six matchdays will be played within nine weeks, cutting the schedule by three weeks compared to last season.

The UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League follow similar breakneck schedules for their respective group stages.

First League

England’s top flight will start a week earlier than last year and will sit on a mid-season break after the November 12 games. Matches will resume on Boxing Day (26 December), a traditionally important day for football in England.

league

In Spain, the league will have a longer break than its English counterpart, with Matchday 14 taking place on November 8th. Matchday 15, the first after the World Cup, begins on December 30th.

Series A

The 2022-23 Serie A season, which starts eight days earlier than the previous season, will feature 15 matchdays before pausing for the World Cup at the end of games on November 13. The league will resume on January 4, 2023.

Bundesliga

The longest midseason break among the major European leagues belongs to the Bundesliga. This is nothing new as Germany’s top flight usually pauses for several weeks in the height of winter, but this year’s break will last a whopping 10 weeks as the Bundesliga plays its final games of 2022 on November 12 before resuming play on November 12. resumes in January. 21st, 2023.

Like other leagues, the Bundesliga starts a week earlier this season.

Other leagues

Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A

Brazil’s top domestic league is traditionally said to start and end in the same calendar year, and 2022 is no different in that regard. However, the league started six weeks earlier this year and will be fully completed by November 13th.

Argentine Primera Division

Similar to Brazil, with the league’s entire schedule contained in a single calendar year (a relatively recent development), Argentina’s top flight ends on October 23 – almost two months earlier than the 2021 edition.

League MX

The Apertura portion of the Mexican season began on July 1, three weeks earlier than last year. As such, the playoffs (aka the liguilla) will start much earlier to be ready by the FIFA deadline of November 13th.

MLS

The North American circuit kicked off on February 26th, which is roughly when it usually starts. However, the regular season is set to wrap up by October 9, at the earliest in years. MLS Cup will be played on November 5th.

J1 League

Japan’s top flight started a week earlier than 2021 and will end on November 5, almost a full month earlier than last year.

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