Earlier this month, the MLS released their schedule for next season with some modifications due to the 2022 World Cup. Since the World Cup is taking place in the winter, all leagues will be forced to modify their schedule to allow players to go to the tournament. While the Premier League has not even reached its halfway point for this season yet, it will be interesting to see how next season will change the Premier League. 

Despite protests from some national teams, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place in the winter of next year. This will be the first time in the tournament’s history that it will take place in the winter, marking a departure from the traditional summer tournament. This is due to the soaring temperatures in Qatar during the summer, so it’s only possible to host it in the winter. 


Photo: Omar Vega/Getty

On November 5th, the MLS released their augmented 2022 season schedule to the surprise of many, as the tournament is still over a year away. This also marks the earliest release of any league’s schedule for the 2022-23 season. It will be interesting to see how other leagues, including the Prem, shift their schedule around and what they take from the MLS.

While they didn’t announce how international matches will fit in with the released schedule, they still laid out some important dates that will likely be followed by other leagues. In order to properly allow players to go to the tournament, all leagues will likely go on hiatus at the same time.

The end date of November 5th can give some insights on when fans can expect Premier League play will go on a hiatus. November 5th will be the MLS Cup final and end the season, meaning that after that point, players will be able to join their national team for the tournament. Of course, each league may set their own end date, the MLS should still be seen as the standard for when leagues can expect to go on hiatus.

Another interesting aspect of the released schedule is the shortened offseason which is reminiscent of the short offseason between the NBA’s bubble and the 2020-21 season. MLS players will only have a month and a half off, if they make the playoffs, to recover, which is shorter than their usual three months off. It will be interesting to see how the Premier League deals with this, as there will likely be two shortened offseasons for players one in the 2022 summer and the other in the 2023 summer.

This will of course force not only every league, but every other competition will have to change their schedules. Meaning that tournaments like the Champions League will start sooner and try to end at the same time as usual.

Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty

There are of course plenty of concerns with how players who are going to play at the tournament will be able to stay in shape and avoid injuries. One of the biggest impacts of the rushed offseason following the NBA bubble was the amount of injuries that happened to players who went deep in the bubble. Whole teams’ seasons were hindered by the bubble, one only needs to look at the Lakers and Miami Heat for proof.

Unlike the NBA bubble where players had a short offseason, it seems that there will be little to no break for those going to the tournament. Which, again, could lead to a heightened amount of injuries and fatigue that could truly hamper teams down the stretch of next season. What will be interesting to see is how teams will integrate players who went to the tournament back into club play.

Less than a week ago, the Premier League finally released their augmented schedule for next season, saving fans from guessing all the exact dates. While it does have some differences from the released MLS schedule, it does follow the similar pattern of the hiatus.

The season will begin a week earlier than usual, with the first game being played on August 6th and the community shield seemingly being played the week before. This also hints towards players being asked to report for preseason earlier than usual. Which means a shorter offseason for the players with this season ending in May and preseason likely being early July.

Similar to the MLS, the league will go on hiatus in early November with the final game being played on November 13th. After that, those who will go to the tournament are expected to join their national teams on the 18th. It seems that all leagues and competitions will take a break by early November to allow their players to go to the tournament.

A little more than a week after the tournament, the Premier League will begin again with their traditional Boxing Day matches on December 26th. Giving players little time between the end of the tournament and the restart of club play. In addition, the season will end in May following the usual end of season schedule.

Photo: Reuters

In a surprising move, the season isn’t extended and will be played in a condensed manner which is similar to the NBA’s moves after the bubble. The concerns with player health in a condensed season will only be further amplified and it will be interesting to see if some players will opt for staying with their club, rather than go to the World Cup. 

While the Premier League’s next season will not follow the MLS exactly, it does seem that the template for the rest of the world’s leagues and competitions will follow their templates. As the world prepares for next year’s World Cup, it seems that player health has been put somewhat on the side which, again, is similar to the NBA’s handling of the post-bubble season. With a different type of World Cup, in terms of when it occurs, everyone from players to league officials will have to adjust their plans for next year to properly deal with the tournament.


Featured Image: FIFA

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