LONDON (AP) The Associated Press first detailed in 2013 how the soccer calendar could adapt if the World Cup was moved from its traditional June-July slot to November-December in 2022. Since then FIFA President Sepp Blatter has announced that November-December is his preferred option for moving the tournament away from Qatar's fierce summer heat, and confirmation of those dates could come next month.
Ahead of a meeting of FIFA's Qatar task force on Tuesday in Qatar, the AP republishes its look at how the 2022-2023 season could look from a European perspective if the World Cup kicks off in November. The leading European leagues usually play from August to May and provide most of the players at World Cups which are held every four years.
May 2022: European season ends as usual.
June: When the World Cup would usually be played, players will have the month off.
July: Champions League qualifiers as normal. There might have to be fewer qualifying entrants to cope with the earlier start.
Mid-July: Start of season for leading European leagues.
August 2-3: Champions League playoff round.
August 9-10: Champions League playoff round.
Mid-August: European transfer window closes.
Aug 23-24: Champions League group stage begins.
Sept 2: Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Sept 6: Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Sept 13-14: Champions League group matchday 2.
Sept 20-21: Champions League group matchday 3.
Sept 30: Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Oct 4: Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Oct 11-12: Champions League group matchday 4.
Oct 18-19: Champions League group matchday 5.
Nov 1-2: Champions League group matchday 6.
Nov 4: Mandatory release of players two weeks before World Cup. There would be no need for the usual postseason rest period before the World Cup given the event falls in the middle of the season when they would usually be playing up to three times a week. There would be space for the usual World Cup warm-up games, which would take the place of the regular November international date.
Nov 18: World Cup begins in Qatar.
Dec 1: World Cup group stage ends. 368 of the 736 players exit.
Dec 4: World Cup round of 16.
Dec 6: World Cup round of 16 ends. 184 players exit.
Dec 9: World Cup quarterfinals.
Dec 10 World Cup quarterfinals. 92 players exit.
Dec 13: World Cup semifinals.
Dec 14: World Cup semifinals.
Dec 17: World Cup 3rd-4th place. 46 players exit.
Dec 18: World Cup final, which falls on Qatar National Day. The final 46 players exit the tournament.
Dec 26: The Premier League could return to start its traditional packed Christmas fixture program. Other leagues could chose to resume later if they determine that players returning from the World Cup after reaching the final or third-place game need a longer break.
Mid to late June 2023: European leagues end.
August 2023: Premier League season starts as usual after a two-month break. In 2014, the Premier League season started just a month after the World Cup final in Brazil.
FIFA would have to find a spot in 2021 for the Confederations Cup, which usually serves as the test event for the following year's World Cup.
A new place in the calendar would also have to be found for FIFA's Club World Cup, which is usually played in December.