Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
As Europe’s top leagues break for the 2022 World Cup, my first thought as an impatient fan is when do they return?
We’re already in the middle of our 12-day tipping countdown to Qatar, but it’s hard to beat the non-stop action that club football brings.
While the Festive period will certainly look different thanks to the tournament, by December there will be plenty of club action to keep us entertained while the World Cup knockouts roll on. We’ve already compiled a list of key dates for the season, but below you can see all the European leagues’ return dates.
When does UK club football restart?
English football doesn’t stop entirely for the World Cup. While the Premier League and Championship are on pause, League 1, League 2 and the National League run throughout the group stage. The FA Cup second round also takes place in the final weekend of November.
The Championship returns on December 3rd as Millwall head to Sunderland, with a full round of games on December 10th. The Scottish Premiership restarts on December 15th just three days shy of the World Cup final, while the Premier League’s next round of games comes on Boxing Day.
Premier League sides are in action before that, with the next round of the Carabao Cup taking place on December 20th, just two days after the World Cup final!
Are any European leagues on during the World Cup?
It’s not just the EFL which runs through the next month. Unsurprisingly the Italian second division carries on, giving Italian fans something to watch after the European champions failed to qualify for Qatar.
The Spanish Segunda also runs through the next month and we’ll be covering that in our free football predictions, along with selected games from Italy’s second tier.
When do Europe’s big five leagues return?
The World Cup will be full of players from Europe’s big five leagues, with each country taking different approaches to their return this season. The Premier League’s traditional Boxing Day games will be the next action from the big five, narrowly pipping France’s Ligue 1 to the post.
The French top division returns on December 27th, a day after a full slate of Ligue 2 games. Spain’s La Liga returns on December 30th, but there’s Copa del Rey action just a couple of days after the World Cup final.
Italy and Germany have incorporated their traditional winter breaks into the World Cup hiatus, so we’ll be waiting a little longer for their return. Serie A’s next action comes on January 4th, while Bundesliga stars who make the World Cup final will still get a month-long break, as Germany’s top-flight restarts on January 20th.
First European top-flight to resume
While Europe’s biggest leagues are expecting players to stay the course in Qatar, there’s a chance for Europe’s other leagues to get back underway first. While the Eredivisie and Swiss Super League are done for 2022, some are up and running shortly after the World Cup final.
The Belgian top flight is set to restart on December 22nd, with cup games pencilled in before that. The Turkish Super Lig will no doubt be a big focus when it restarts on Christmas Eve, while the Portuguese Primeira Liga restarts on December 27th.
When does the Champions League return?
The Champions League’s return feels a long way off, but it’s worth looking forward to given that the last 16 draw includes repeats of the 2022 and 2020 final matchups. UEFA’s top competition returns on February 14th with a bumper double-header of AC Milan vs Tottenham and PSG vs Bayern Munich.
The Europa League and Europa Conference League are back on February 16th, with that night including Barcelona’s encounter with Manchester United.
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