Scottish Premiership set for extended mid-season shutdown due to 2022 Qatar World Cup

The Scottish Premiership could be shut down for six weeks midway through next season due to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 11:49 am
Updated Thursday, 7th October 2021, 5:48 pm
Hearts and Hibs in action during the Edinburgh derby earlier this season. Picture: SNS

Clubs are being consulted on the proposals, which would see the league suspended between November 13 and December 17.

There would be 16 rounds of fixtures before the stoppage, with the season pencilled in to start on July 30. There will then be a hectic schedule once action resumes with five matches in 16 days across the festive period.

The final league matches would take place at the end of May with the Premiership play-off final and Scottish Cup final expected to be held on the first weekend in June.

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The Premier Sports Cup would also see an altered schedule with the final taking place on February 26 and the semi-finals in January, much like the competition’s schedule before it was shortened into a pre-Christmas tournament.

The lower leagues are expected to continue as normal.

The new calender would mean be little respite for players who took part in the World Cup with a packed 2022-23 schedule from July to June before a shortened break ahead of the start of the 2023-24 season.

A number of Scottish top flight clubs would be affected by international call-ups during the World Cup, even if Scotland fail to qualify.

Rangers, Celtic, Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Motherwell have all had players called up for international duty in the past week for both the home nation and other countries who remain in contention to qualify for the tournament in the Middle East.

The Old Firm clubs would be affected most, with 21 call-ups between them during the current international break, 10 from Rangers and 11 from Celtic.

FIFA broke from tradition of a summer tournament on account of the high temperatures in the region during the summer months.

Football’s governing body have stipulated that players must be released by November 14, which will cause disruption to domestic fixtures in Scotland and across Europe.

The World Cup runs from 21 November to 18 December and the English Premier League have already discussed plans for a seven-week break starting from November 12 before getting back underway on December 26.

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