Championship 2022/23: Clubs fuming at EFL’s fixture plans to accommodate for 2022 World Cup

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An earlier start date but more fixtures in what could be a congested fixture list for Championship clubs.

English Football League chiefs have begun preparing the schedule for the 2022/23 season due to the difficulties offered by the 2022 World Cup.

League bosses are trying to find a solution to work around the new footballing schedule and are trying to keep everyone happy. 

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In the league above, the Premier League have already decided that the season will begin a week earlier and end a week later with more midweek fixtures added to accommodate for international football’s biggest prize.

A report from the Daily Mail however has revealed plans that the second-tier clubs are not too happy at the apparent plans, which are yet to be confirmed.

It is understood that teams would be expected to play just under half-a-season in the space of just 106 days.

Starting on July 30 and pausing on November 12, clubs would be expected to play 21 league matches and the potential of three League Cup matches, which would offer a congested fixture list.

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The Championship would resume on December 10 when the World Cup is at the quarter-final stage, but this could leave clubs without a number of players, depending on how far their respective teams go.

Players chosen for the tournament would also have to have discussions with their club about a rest period after an earlier start to the season with fatigue a possibility.

Unlike the Premier League, who have moved the finish date, the culmination of the 46-match season remains on its intended date of May 6.

The driving force behind this is that the EFL would like the Play-Off final weekend to remain on a Bank Holiday.

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What has been said about the plans and how have the EFL responded?

The footballing calendar has already been affected, owing mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic. Major tournaments such as the Copa America and EURO 2020 were pushed back a year, meanwhile the African Cup of Nations begins in January.

The pause in the 2019/20 campaign had an adverse effect with games being crammed in across all levels of football.

This is something that clubs are keen to avoid given the increased possibility of injury given the lack of break in between fixtures.

An official from one Championship club said: “Last season, albeit thanks to Covid, was the worst we have experienced. We thought we would never see anything worse and yet here we are with these proposals that can only be described as madness.

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‘Players are shattered from last season and now we want to shorten the summer break and cram it into a normal end-date? Why not extend the season? It doesn’t make sense.’

In response, an EFL executive said: “The league has been in consultation with its clubs over the past two years as we seek to find the most sensible and practical solutions to the calendar for next season.’

When will the 2022 World Cup take place?

FIFA revealed a number of years ago that the World Cup will take place between November 21, 2022 and December 18, 2022.

The tournament will take place in Qatar, after being awarded it in 2010.

Games will take place at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm GMT time.

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Will League One and Two clubs be affected?

Lower league clubs are unlikely to be majorly affected by the plans as a majority of their players will not be on international duty.

There may be a change in some of the kick-off dates to avoid any clashes on the television.

It provides the opportunity for supporters of Premier League and Championship clubs to seek alternative football for the time being.

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