Soccer

How football could accommodate 2022 WC dates moves

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LONDON (AP)

It seems increasingly certain that the 2022 World Cup will be moved from the summer to the cooler winter months in Qatar. Though the consultation process isn't over yet, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke told French radio on Wednesday that it would be ''nonsense'' to play football in Qatar during the traditional June and July dates.

Moving the tournament to November-December 2022, as suggested by Valcke, would force many leagues to split their seasons in two. Opposition is being led by the English Premier League, which has warned of years of disruption.

However, The Associated Press has formulated how a November-December World Cup could work, and the tweaks needed in Europe to accommodate that.

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May 2022: European season ends as usual.

June: When the World Cup would usually be played, footballers 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: European leagues end.

August 2023: Premier League season starts as usual after a two-month break. In 2014, the Premier League season is starting just a month after the World Cup final in Brazil.

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FIFA would have to rejig and curtail the format for the 2021 Confederations Cup so it can maintain a World Cup warm-up tournament, potentially splitting matches across existing international matchdays. The Club World Cup, which would usually be played in December, will also have to find a new place in the calendar in 2022.

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