The Premier League has agreed to break during next season after the weekend of November 12 to incorporate the Qatar 2022 World Cup, before resuming fixtures again on Boxing Day, Sky Sports News understands.
Players will have a week of preparations with their national teams before heading out to the tournament in the Middle East, and only eight days to recover in time for the league’s resumption should they reach the final on December 18.
Executives of all 20 Premier League clubs were in London on Wednesday for a scheduled meeting, and the programme for 2022/23 was decided in discussions that lasted approximately four hours and also included a number of other issues.
Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow called the idea of a winter World Cup “crazy” and expects the hiatus to bite clubs and fans in England once it begins next year.
He said: “Next season when we play in an equally crazy idea, which is a winter World Cup, we won’t see any Premier League football at the peak of our season between November and December, which is something that people are going to have to get used to.
“These are decisions that get taken a long time ago. They bite, quite soon. Next season we’ll all see that.
“I always have concerns about player welfare but I have more concerns for our fans missing Premier League football in the winter for five weeks, which is our great national tradition and our great national heritage.”
The Premier League will also start a week earlier next season – expected to be Saturday August 6 – and finish later on in May than usual, with the FA Cup final to be shifted to June.
Also discussed at the Premier League meeting were Covid-19 protocols following the government’s winter plan, which was outlined earlier this month, including ‘Plan B’ which could involve the need for Covid passports.
Clubs will continue to carry out their own policies in regards to spot checks on supporters at stadiums for vaccination status or negative lateral flow test results, and encouraging staff and players to be vaccinated.
A Premier League ‘charter’ to stop future plans for a breakaway European Super League was also discussed, but the nine-point plan is said to still be some way from being agreed. However, one source inside the meeting told Sky Sports News they do not need a piece of paper to ensure that does not happen in future; public opinion has already done so.
EFL season likely to start in July
The 2022-23 EFL season is likely to start in July, in order to accommodate the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The matches next season are likely to start on the weekend of 30-31 July, a week earlier than the current campaign kicked off.
Proposals put forward by the EFL would see the Championship pause along with the Premier League after the weekend of November 12-13, but League One and League Two continue throughout the tournament.
The Championship would resume earlier than the Premier League, at the end of the World Cup group stage, but with FIFA yet to outline the exact tournament schedule a date for the resumption cannot yet be set.
The planned schedule would mean that no extension will be required at the end of the EFL season and that the play-offs can remain in their traditional spots, with the finals staged on the bank holiday weekend at the end of May.