On Friday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino confirmed that the next World Cup will be held during the winter season for the first time. Reports state that the tournament in Qatar will be played from November 21 to December 18 in 2022.
“Leagues around the world have been informed already, and of course they will have to adapt,” read a FIFA statement.
Since the World Cup interrupts the league seasons, the franchises will be forced to let go of the players for their respective nations.
However, several leagues won’t have an issue in the aftermath of the World Cup as most of them will be on break. The only exception is the Premier League which does not have a break for Christmas.
The English leagues are usually in the thick of action around Christmas time. However, everything would start around a week after the end of the final.
FIFA Vice-President Jim Boyce discussed the idea of a winter tournament way back in 2015, “I think it could be a tremendous World Cup because I think players will be fresher than they have ever been. It’s going to be 28 days, it’s not a lifetime. It means [domestic leagues] starting three weeks earlier and finishing three weeks later for one year.”
FIFA still has to decide the number of participating teams at the next World Cup. However, Infantino hopes to have 48 teams in the competition instead of 32.
“We will decide whether it’s 48 or 32 teams in the next few months,” Infantino added. “We must have have discussions with the Qataris and then if there is a possibility with the Fifa Council and stakeholders. Then we will decide calmly and quietly what the decision is.
“For now it’s a World Cup with 32 teams but everybody is open-minded and we will have a frank and open debate.”