LONDON (AP) — English Premier League clubs will take a week off in January for a new national-team break FIFA created specially to help clear the backlog of World Cup qualifying games outside Europe.
The Premier League published its 2021-22 schedule on Wednesday with no games after the Jan. 22 weekend until resuming with midweek games on Feb. 8.
“This season, the weekend of Saturday, January 29, 2022 forms part of the FIFA international match calendar, and as such, no Premier League matches will take place,” the league said.
The pause is being taken despite European national teams not playing on those dates.
The extra international slot was requested last year by South American soccer body CONMEBOL after several rounds of World Cup qualifiers were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.