The domestic football calendar is out and there is one key takeaway – the 2022-23 Isuzu UTE A-League season will take a break for the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in November.
The Isuzu UTE A-League season will kick-off on October 7, while the 2022-23 Liberty A-League campaign is scheduled to get underway on November 19.
Wednesday’s Football Australia (FA) announcement confirmed a three-week pause to the A-League Men’s season from November 18 to December 8 while the World Cup takes place in Qatar.
Qatar 2022, where the Socceroos will come up against defending champions France, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D, will run from November 21 to December 18 – the date of the men’s decider.
There were seven A-Leagues-based players in the squad when Australia overcame the United Arab Emirates and Peru in play-offs to secure their World Cup spot.
“Everyone in Australia will be behind the Socceroos and their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign in Qatar,” said Australian Professional Leagues (APL) chief executive Danny Townsend.
“We’ll be supporting that with a three week break for the Isuzu UTE A-League where, hopefully, a number of our stars will be on show on the world stage.
“It will be a time of great excitement for Australian football fans.”
Townsend explained: “APL is working with Football Australia to make the Isuzu UTE A-League start as early as possible with respect to the Australia Cup fixtures and the international window in September.
“There will be multiple opportunities for players to demonstrate their worth to the national team coach prior to the World Cup.
“There will be an international window from September 19th to 27th, followed by Australia Cup quarter and semi-finals and final. These are competitive fixtures that Australia-based players will be playing in and able to demonstrate their capability to the national team coach.
“We’ve got a four or five-month pre-season that will be populated with meaningful opportunities for players to demonstrate their capability.”
It will be the second consecutive season where the Liberty A-League will have an extra side; that means there will be 99 matches across 20 regular-season rounds, with Western United entering the 11-team Liberty A-League for the first time.
“With the Domestic Match Calendar 2022-23 now finalised, staff at Member Federations, the APL, and Football Australia, as well as clubs within the Australian football ecosystem, can more thoroughly plan their activities for the period from 7 October 2022 and 7 October 2023,” said FA CEO James Johnson.
“There are many major milestones that the game can capitalise on over the next 12-to-18 months, with the tailwinds of Australia’s participation at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and co-hosting of next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, to help underpin interest in the A-Leagues, NPL competitions, and the Australia Cup.
“With clear windows for match activity now set, we can work collaboratively on maximising the opportunities that exist within player pathways, as well as think and act strategically about the promotion of the sport, ensuring that each area of the game has the best possible opportunity to engage fans, sponsors, and audiences both domestically and internationally.
“Pleasingly, we will see a significant amount of Australia Cup football prior to the commencement of the A-League Men season in early October. This could see our domestically-based Socceroos players being exposed to a good amount of competitive football prior to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“It has taken a collaborative, team effort to finalise the DMC 2022-23, and we acknowledge stakeholders from across the game for contributing to this important piece of work.”
There is also a placeholder between March 2023 and September 2023 for the establishment of a new men’s National Second Tier competition.