When it comes to the second half of November and December, football isn’t used to seeing the World Cup being played. That is the case in 2022 however with the finals being played in Qatar. What changes will this make to the football calendar and the future of the game?
Football is used to the World Cup taking place in the summer. Players already tired from a long season had to summon up more energy to take part in the biggest football competition in the world. Then when that was all over, it was a few weeks off because the next season began. Not so in 2022 though, it’s all very different.
Awarding the World Cup finals to Qatar was a controversial decision.Not just the allegations of bribery but the problems that would be caused if the finals were played at the usual time of the year.
The sheer heat that would be present in Qatar in the summer made it impossible to play the tournament at that time. Cue mass upheaval in football leagues around the globe. Even some countries who haven’t qualified for the finals will be suspending their seasons in mid-November. That shows how many clubs now have overseas players in their squads.
Some countries won’t see a resumption of their domestic league season until the start of January. A traditional winter break will delay the resumption. Not so in England though, they have Premier League matches scheduled just eight days after the World Cup final due to be played on December 18.
How will this affect clubs? The top teams will be able to cope with there being no games for a month or so. Others might not fare so well. In the US it’s not a problem as the MLS season will have already finished.
However, in England, sides in the Championship (the second-tier) won’t appreciate a gap of a month between fixtures. Cash flow will be hit as there are no funds coming in from home games.
Online legal sportsbooks in NY will also encounter problems. It’s similar to the situation faced during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. That caused the major football leagues to be put on hold. The World Cup will see the same happening again.
Yes, there will be the World Cup games to bet on. Gambling on sport has become increasingly popular in the US in recent years. States such as New York and New Jersey are among those who have made sports betting legal. While there will be World Cup games to bet on, New York online bookmakers in those sites and around the world will need to find leagues that are still playing.
During the pandemic, the Belarus Premier League became popular as it continued playing.. During the World Cup there looks likely to be lower leagues covered to ensure that sportsbooks maintain a good level of content. It may well be that there also has to be a higher emphasis placed on eSports and casino games.
When the World Cup does end, the leagues around the world will gradually resume. This will be a problem for clubs and managers will have major problems selecting their starting line-ups. Clubs that have strong squads will have to dig deep as those returning home from Qatar will need some recovery time.
Manchester City will have plenty of players in Qatar. The good news is that prolific scorer Erling Haaland will be at home after Norway failed to reach the finals. Now that will be bad news for the opposition.