Why Do The PL Think A Winter World Cup Is Disruptive?

I’ve got no axe to grind on World Cup dates and why Qatar was selected as a suitable venue – aside from the possibility of corruption within Fifa. But this ‘problem’ of a winter World Cup doesn’t seem like such a big problem to me.

The World Cup takes a month. Put two weeks on the start for preparation and one week at the end for recuperation and that’s seven weeks.

Less time is needed for recuperation because most players will finish much earlier than the final.

This season the Premier League started on August 17 and finishes on May 11.
It could easily have started three weeks earlier on July 27. The only things the clubs were doing during that period were touring the world and arguing about who might sign who. Everyone had been in training since the start of July.

Every season has at least one international break for friendlies that isn’t needed, so that’s another week that can be saved.

If there’s no international tournament in the summer (as there clearly won’t be if you’ve just played the World Cup finals six months earlier instead) then it doesn’t matter if the season goes on until the second week of June rather than the second week of May – normally the players would be off at the World Cup until into July anyway, then get a shorter break before having to start pre-season training.

So there’s another four weeks available, making a total of eight, and we only needed seven.
So I’m struggling to see why a winter World Cup would disrupt three seasons, as the various football leagues were claiming. It seems quite simple to ensure it only disrupts one. Maybe I’m missing something; shoot me down.

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5 thoughts on “Why Do The PL Think A Winter World Cup Is Disruptive?

  1. Won’t qualifiers need to be completed before 2022? If the games started november, qualifiers will need to be done no later than may, so TEAMS can book there hotels in UAE.

    My problem is that the wc was sold as a summer event. Its what australia and the others felt they were aiming for. Then FIFA changed the rules. I just cant believe get away with this

  2. I think Phil that the problem with the winter WC has more to do with northern European countries having a midwinter break. Temperatures drop to well below minus in Scandinavia and Russia making football impossible. Most of eastern Europe likewise has a mid winter break. Clubs playing in these leagues could find themselves without a league game from early December to maybe the end of March . Such a break could result in financial ruin for some if not all of them. Whatever about the pros and cons of the argument this is a self inflicted wound. FIFA should never granted the competition to a country where Summer temperatures can stay at 40c plus for day’s on end. To expect players to perform in such conditions is madness. That class “A” idiot Blatter should have been bounced years ago . Did any Arab money find it’s way into FIFA’s bank account ? Do Arsenal play at the Emirates ?

  3. Apologies, this spiraled out to be seriously long, hope it still makes sense.

    It is the scheduling as much as everything, and squeezing all the games in.

    The only options for a winter world cup are Nov/Dec or Jan/Feb (Dec/Jan theoretically is the third, but has all of the negatives of both the others). Nov/Dec would have the later stages of the tournament smack bang in the middle of Christmas. FIFA are happy to disrupt European football seasons, but really need their money, so that is out.

    I’m assuming that means they move the date back to Jan/Feb 2022. If they move it forwards, all that happens is they move the problems on to the European Championships in 2024. Added to that, it would technically become the 2023 World Cup, which would open FIFA up to all manner of litigation (The Australian FA are already threatening to sue as it is).

    Its already been pointed out that for practical reasons the qualifiers and groups need to be known 6 months in advance (not least to give FIFA time to sell all those tickets and hotel rooms), so that means all of the qualifiers have to be finished by the end of June 2021, essentially in one season. In Europe that means 10/12 games to fit in (including playoffs) instead of 6. (In other regions its 16+)

    Summer 2020 is the European Championships, so there is no wiggle room at that end. — Players are not freed up until the start of July, give them a couple of weeks off, then start pre-season, and you are looking at mid-August as normal. You would probably have to run playoffs after the 2021 season ends, extending it to the start of June, and still have to fit 4 more internationals into an already busy season.

    You might get a couple of days back by removing friendlies, but not enough (and most managers would still want a friendly or 2 when qualifying is so pressured). The last group games would have to be in March at the latest, so they don’t clash with the end of the season (Run in, cup semis, finals etc).

    Assume you run the minimum pre-season for 2021-22: 2 weeks off, then 4 weeks of training. So Charity shield 17th July, start matches 24th July. It gets you 3 extra game weeks. You get more time from the qualifiers you moved forwards, but will need at least 2 friendlies — the World Cup squads would need to be announced mid December and by that point a lot of international managers will have been away from their players for 9-10 months.

    Using Arsenal as a guide, and assuming 2 games a week from day 1, there could be 13 match slots they could use. There are a few more, but are are filled with potential games (4th round/QF league cup), but the 13 doesn’t include possible replays. Absolute worst case scenario, 3 league cup replays and 2 friendlies brings it down to 8.

    The World Cup itself has to take up the whole of Jan and Feb. Looking at FIFA’s guidelines, the squads get a week off, 2 weeks of build up, 4 weeks of tournament, then you are going to need a week to recover/travel/put club squads back together.

    In that period, Arsenal played 8 league games last year, so in theory, they could all be scheduled before Christmas. The thing that worries me is that to get it to work, it means playing twice a week potentially every week from mid July.

    The next problem is that in Jan-Feb, there is also the 3-5th round of the FA cup, the league cup semis and the first knockout game of both the Europa league and Champion’s league. (We played 13 games in that period last year). You cannot move any of them to before Christmas: European group games don’t finish until mid December, as does the league cup QF. The FA cup already starts before the PL does, so you cannot move the whole tournament back much.

    All of those games need to be moved to March or later. Its hard to measure the knock-on effect, but the Champion’s League final would likely have to be in 2nd week of June, the league might have to run to June, and the FA Cup final possibly later. What that would do to the 2022-23 season, I’m not sure. After a season like that, you have to have a full rest and preseason, so would that mean they have to delay the start to September?

    The more I thought it through, the more it seems you have to juggle and move games in one of the most busy parts of the season.

  4. Again sorry for the huge post above (never do it when you are too tired to edit properly), even then I also forgot to mention that the PL probably has the aspect of ‘you caused this mess; you fix it’.

    FIFA’s own bid reviews http://www.fifa.com/search/index.html?q=2022+bid+review (its on the page and didn’t want to directly link to a PDF), show FIFA’s own people picking out all of the problems before the decision was made (and the guys voting would have had it). It shows how big a risk the bid was, and they still voted for it.

    Also worth pointing out was the only other bid with any significant risk was the Russian one.

    In that context, when FIFA go against their own advice, why should the national leagues fix it when it all goes tits up.

  5. How the f*** am I going to be able to stand/wobble on a table top in the cultural heart of a city centre, semi-dressed, clutching a bottle of premium lager in one hand and a burqa clad inflatable doll in the other whilst treating the locals to a fine rendition of ♪ ♫.Enguuuurland, Enguuurland, Enguuuuuuuuurland! ♪ ♫.

    I think you’re completely missing the point of the World Cup

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