As FIFA prepares for its first-ever winter tournament, the PL’s decision to abolish its traditional festive fixture has been made.
According to an exclusive story from the Telegraph, the round of Premier League fixtures between Boxing Day and New Year would be removed for the 2022/2023 season in order to protect player fitness after the Qatar World Cup in 2022.
It means that Leeds United players returning from the winter World Cup in the Middle East will have nearly a week off between their first games following the World Cup on December 18 and their final games of the year on New Year’s Eve, which falls on a Saturday.
When the entire fixture schedule for the 2019 season is announced on Thursday morning, the adjustments are expected to be verified.
As the world prepares for its first ever winter tournament, the decision to abolish the usual festive fixture calendar is the latest in a series of extraordinary changes to domestic football. After the turn of the year, midweek games will stay, reducing the typical four-game squeeze to three for the coming season.
The decision to scrap the usual festive fixture program is the latest in a series of unprecedented changes to domestic football as the world prepares for its first-ever winter event. After the new year, midweek games will be reduced from four to three for the upcoming season.
Over the last few seasons, there has been extensive concern about players welfare, foremost due to conflict-related fixture congestion, and again due to the shifting and shortening of schedules in advance of the contentious major finals in Qatar. Gareth Southgate has frequently expressed concerns over his players’ well-being since the Premier League season ended on May 22.
Due to injuries, Whites midfielder Kalvin Phillips only started six games in 2022, but he joined England’s camp for their Nations League ties, appearing in all four games, culminating in a dead leg against Germany and a rusty effort in Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to Hungary.
Diego Llorente, Liam Cooper, Dan James, Mateusz Klich, Raphinha, Brenden Aaronson, and Rasmus Kristensen were all away with their respective countries this winter, with the exception of Cooper, who will be in Qatar.
Last season, the Whites were forced to take a break during the holidays as games against Liverpool and Aston Villa were postponed due to covid. Leeds beat West Bromwich Albion 5-0 in the regular midweek match in the club’s first season back in the Premier League.
Southgate and the FA have also asked the Premier League to ensure that no meetings between the traditional ‘big-six’ teams are scheduled during the last week before the tournament in November, citing the risk of injury to important players as a reason.
Leeds’ Premier League schedule for 2022/2023 was revealed by Thursday, June 16, at 9 a.m.