The Premier League 2022/23 fixtures have been officially announced, with congested fixtures as expected due to the unusual World Cup 2022.
Qatar 2022 is the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East. Moreover, it will be contested at the end of the year, rather than in June, as in previous editions. The main reason is an excessively humid summer with temperatures exceeding 50°C. The tournament takes place from November 21 to December 18, forcing the Premier League to change their schedule. As a result, the second-tier Championships are likely to follow in the footsteps of the top flight. The one major adjustment in 2022/23 season is none but the break in middle.
Premier League 2022/23 Fixture Congestion Confirmed Due to World Cup Qatar 2022
The Seven-week Break
Premier League has reportedly to arrange their mid season recess for seven weeks to make room for World Cup 2022. However, the dates seem very close to the kick off and the final. The English top flight will have completed their last round on November 12 and 13, which is only about eight days before the kick off.
The rather unexpected one is the date to resume the competition. The Premier League has decided to restart on Boxing Day, just eight days after the Qatar 2022 final. Any Premier League players involved in the summit will undoubtedly suffer from a lack of fitness as a result of this. Fatigue and injuries would later become major issues. Not to mention the looming pandemic which could add more problems and delay the matches just like last season due to the covid contraction during the post-world cup season.
Meanwhile, the second tier has an even tighter schedule. The EFL Championship has a shorter break than the top flight because the competition resumes on December 10. On this date, the World Cup 2022 quarter-final will still be in progress.
Players’ Wellness in Danger Again
Such congested fixture is only the beginning. There will be more of it for the teams playing in the continental competition. UEFA also aims to wrap up their competitions’ group stage on November 2, which is likely to lead to more problems on players’ wellness. What’s worse, all World Cup squad members are expected to join the team on November 14, or just two days after the last round of Premier League.
World Cup 2022 will be held over a shorter period of time than previous editions. The tournament begins on November 21 and concludes on December 18. It is shorter than the standard one, which usually lasts a month. During the tournament, the players will face yet another congested fixtures. The first two games in the group stage will be played in multiple slots, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. Normally, the matches are only played in three time slots. Not to mention the potential for shorter breaks between stages. FIFA is expected to compensate in the only way possible, by allowing larger squads, similar to those used in EURO 2020, or even larger if necessary.
This Premier League congested fixtures is exactly the first time in history. The players had experienced it before in 2020/21 season due to the late start after the competition was suspended for four months in the previous season when Covid-19 first cases broke and Euro 2021 in the summer. However, it is still not an ideal condition for the player’s health.
These congested fixtures will only be one of the early FIFA’s ‘blunder’ consequences while naming Qatar as the world cup host. The issue of player wellness did not appear to be a priority for the world football governing body at the time. The players will ultimately have to pay the price for FIFA’s bold decision. Their health has been sacrificed because of Qatar 2022, let alone the world cup biennial later.
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