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Premier League confirms 2022-23 schedule amidst winter World Cup

Get ready non-stop football until June, and exhausted players in January.

2018 FIFA World Cup closing ceremony Photo by Mikhail Tereshchenko\TASS via Getty Images

I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of football fans think the idea of a winter World Cup next year is ridiculous and stupid. But never mind, FIFA’s going to do it anyway, and force the rest of world club football to adapt around them. Today, the Premier League announced its plans for the 2022-23 season, and it will include starting earlier, ending later, and with a further compressed schedule, all morphed around Qatar 2022.

This season, the league started on August 13, meaning next season will begin one week earlier and will pause after Matchweek 16 on Nov. 12-13. Players will be called up and will report to their national teams beginning November 14, with World Cup matches beginning the week of November 21, lasting through the World Cup final on December 18. The Premier League will then resume one week later, with games kicking off on December 26 and lasting until May 28, one week later than usual.

So what you’ve got here are players going through the usual gruelling club season, getting a week to train with their national teams, followed by a World Cup, another week to return home, and then the rest of the Premier League season that has been compacted in order to fit all matches in within something like its normal schedule. It’s ridiculous for several reasons — one week is a terribly short amount of time for national teams to train and prepare for the biggest international football tournament in the world, which likely means at least initially some pretty bad football in this tournament. Then, at least for the four teams that make the finals, it’s a week’s break before being thrust, exhausted, right back into an already compacted club season.

And if you think these players are going to look ahead and conserve some energy for the second half of the league season, well, probably not.

In a normal World Cup year, the players at least have a few weeks before they report to their national teams and a few weeks after to rest a bit. Next season they won’t even have that, with an even shorter break the following summer before having to return to their clubs to do it all over again. To add insult to injury, next winter’s World Cup will likely serve as a model for other tournaments held in inhospitably hot climates, so we should probably expect this to happen again, eventually. And FIFA now wants a World Cup every two years.

Crazy.