FIFA’s executive committee will this week discuss the suggestion that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be held outside the traditional June-July period due to the searing summer heat in the country.
January, April and November have all been put forward as alternative periods.
The tournament lasts for 30 days but FIFA allows two full months for it in the international match calendar.
FIFA stipulates that players who are selected for their national teams play their last club games some three weeks before the start of the competition. Players would also require at least one week to recover afterwards.
The proposal to move the competition would force some domestic leagues to change their dates while others would be almost unaffected.
ENGLAND The English Premier League runs from mid-August to early May and is almost unique in not stopping for Christmas and the New Year. On the contrary, the festive period is one of the most hectic parts of the season and is considered as part of the English soccer tradition. Neighbouring Scotland also plays on through Christmas and the New Year, despite the inclement weather.
GERMANY The German seasons kicks off at the start of August and runs to mid-May but with a winter break of between four and six weeks from mid-December to mid-January.
FRANCE The season runs from early August to mid-May with a three-week break over Christmas and the New Year.
ITALY AND SPAIN The domestic season in both countries kicks off in late August and runs to mid-May in Italy and sometimes early June in Spain. Both countries have a break over Christmas and the New Year. Portugal and Turkey have a similar schedules.
In fact, Spain has in the past overlooked the international calendar, causing a clash of dates when players from Spanish club are selected for competitions such as the Confederations Cup and Copa America.
SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA Both countries kick off their season in mid-July, have a winter break of around two months, and then resume until late May. In Switzerland, the winter break is sometimes longer than the summer gap between different seasons.
Denmark follows a similar pattern, running from early August to mid-May with a two-month winter break.
GREECE The Superleague runs from late August until the end of April, although that is followed by a six-team mini-league between teams who finish second and fifth to determine Champions League and Europa League places.
RUSSIA The Russian season used to run from March until December but was transferred in 2012 to bring it into line with Western Europe. The season now runs from August until May but with a long winter break from December to March.
UKRAINE Another country where the winter rest is longer than the break between seasons. The Ukraine season starts in mid-July and finishes 10 months later in mid-May. The winter break runs from the start of December for three months until the start of March.
NORWAY AND SWEDEN Both countries would arguably be better off with a winter World Cup. Norway’s season runs from mid-March to early November, Sweden’s is similar but starts slightly later.
BRAZIL Brazil has one of the longest seasons in any country and is unique in holding regional tournaments in addition to the national championships.
The season generally runs from mid-January to mid-December with no break. The state championships (one for each of Brazil’s 27 states) run from mid-January until early May, with major teams playing some 20 games. Those are followed by the Brazilian championship, starting immediately afterwards and running until December, with 38 rounds of fixtures.
Despite this, Brazilian domestic football would remain largely unaffected as it generally carries on regardless of the international calendar, although it usually stops for the month-long duration of the World Cup itself. Otherwise, it is common for a full programme of domestic fixtures to take place on the same day that the national side is also playing.
ARGENTINA, URUGUAY AND VENEZUELA Argentina and Uruguay follow the European season, starting in August and finishing the following June. Both have a long summer break from December until mid-February. Venezuela’s season follows a similar pattern. Argentina’s squad is made up almost entirely of foreign-based players although a number of players from other South American countries play there.
BOLIVIA Bolivia’s season followed the calendar year until 2005, which was intended to see a transition to a European-style season. However, this was aborted halfway through the 2005-06 season and the country stuck with the calendar year. However, in 2011, there was a successful transition and the country’s season now runs from July to May with a long summer break.
CHILE, PERU, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR AND PARAGUAY The other South American countries use the calendar year, usually starting in late February and finishing in late November or early December, sometimes with a winter break.
MEXICO Mexico’s complex season runs from August until the following May with a one-month break around the New Year period. As Mexico’s national team have a large number of home-based players, and many South and Central American internationals also play in the country, clubs would be seriously depleted if the league did not observe the full period before and after the World Cup.
UNITED STATES The regular Major League Soccer season runs from March to October, with the playoffs in November and December.
JAPAN The J-League runs from March to December.
SOUTH KOREA AND CHINA South Korea’s K-League runs from March to November and