The World Cup final will take place on December 18 when the tournament is held in the winter for the first time in 2022.
Ahead of the 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia on Sunday – and, of course, before the third-place play-off on Saturday when England take on Belgium – FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed that the Qatar World Cup in four-and-a-half years’ time will be played between Monday, November 21 and Sunday, December 18.
Newcastle United and the other 19 English top-flight clubs will now wait with interest to see how the Football Association, Premier League and EFL restructure the domestic campaign accordingly.
Seemingly the usual festive football calendar – which, often criticised by managers due to the hectic schedule, is cherished by fans due to the traditions it brings with it – will be significantly diminished to say the very least.
Given that the World Cup final takes place just a week before Christmas, it is unlikely that the domestic season with start up again until the beginning of 2023 at the earliest, although there have been suggestions Boxing Day fixtures could remain in place.
The Premier League is yet to determine the precise make up of the 2022/23 campaign – but both seasons either side could also be affected given that the Qatar World Cup must take place in the winter due to the stifling temperatures in the Middle East.
It has been reported that the 2021/22 season could end as early as May, allowing the following campaign to begin by mid-July. That will then allow teams to release players for the mandatory fortnight-long training camps during the first two weeks of November.
With at least six weeks during the middle of the season taken up by the World Cup, it is likely that the 2022/23 campaign will also finish later than normal – potentially even in June.
All of these questions remain unanswered but, given that the dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have now been confirmed, the scheduling of that major tournament will undoubtedly greatly impact upon the English domestic football season.