Millwall manager discusses July 2022-23 kick-off and mid-season break during World Cup

GARY Rowett quipped he hopes that he will be confronted by a “problem” next summer with the 2022-23 season set to start in July.

Championship clubs will have a month’s break as the schedule is adjusted with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar taking place next winter.

The Championship, League One and League Two will kick off on Saturday, July 30, with the potential “problem” being in the play-offs at the end of this campaign.

The World Cup is over a five-week period in November and December 2022. Round 16 of the Championship, set to take place on Saturday, November 12, will be the final round of fixtures played.

The Championship will kick off again on December 10, 2022 following the end of the group stages of the tournament and the first knockout round. League One and League Two fixtures will continue as normal with the existing international calls postponement criteria applying.

The Premier League will recommence on Boxing Day.

The EFL Cup is set to start the week commencing August 8, with the final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, February 26.

The final day of the 2022-23 season in the Championship, League One and League Two will be across the weekend of Saturday, May 6, 2023, with the EFL play-off finals scheduled for the Bank Holiday weekend of May 27-29.

Clubs have had consecutive disrupted seasons due to Covid-19 restrictions. The 2019-20 Championship campaign didn’t end until July 22 after the first lockdown saw fixtures suspended for more than three months.

There was then less than two months before the start of 2020-21, with clubs having to condense their pre-season preparations after a shorter break for players. That campaign’s schedule was packed into a truncated season with Euro 2020 taking place in the summer of 2021.

Rowett doesn’t feel too inconvenienced by the earlier start to the next campaign or the break in fixtures, which he believes will allow his players to have a mid-season breather. The only way Millwall will have players involved in the tournament is if they sign them in January or in next summer’s transfer window.

The Lions are currently poised just outside the top six and Rowett has said he expects a play-off challenge. If Millwall finish in the top six in the second tier for the first time since 2002 and go on to reach the Championship play-off final for the first time in their history, then they will have to adjust their summer plans.

But that wouldn’t be a concern for Rowett as he was asked about the break in fixtures and earlier start next season.

“It poses a slight issue in that you’re probably going to get a week less break,” Rowett said. “But I think it only truly causes any team a problem if they’re involved in the play-offs, essentially.

“It would be nice if it does cause us some problems, it would be a problem I’d like to have, along with a lot of other clubs.

“But if you look at the last couple of summers they have been affected by Covid anyway, so we’re kind of used to disruption a little bit.

“It will be strange, I believe we’re going to get two or three weeks without a game in winter. It will be an opportunity to give that week back to the players and have a mid-season break almost.

“It will be interesting to see how it works. It’s going to be a little bit unconventional, to say the least, but I’m sure clubs will adapt.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly