* Matchday 16 games falling on the weekend of November 12-13 are set to be suspended a week before
* To allow a call-up period for international coaches that will begin on November 14 to select their best squads
* Major changes in all European leagues such as the La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A
By Duncan Mlanjira
With the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup set to run from November 21 to December 18, the most watched European League by Malawians — the English Premiership — will be suspended for the duration of the global tournament.
This is the first-ever FIFA World Cup to be played in the Middle East, and also the first to be played in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months of November and December.
The FIFA World Cup is always been held in the summer months of June and July and the 2022 Qatar fiesta surely brings major changes in all European leagues such as the La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Ligue 1 (France) and Serie A (Italy).
The English Premiership is the most followed by Malawians through DStv’s SuperSport channels and the changes are a great relief as the football fans eagerly await the global showpiece that brings an array of world class talent from all the major European leagues — providing the most thrilling distillation of ‘The Beautiful Game’.
As the 2022 Qatar World Cup begins on November 21, the English Premiership final round of fixtures of Matchday 16 — games falling on the weekend of November 12-13 — are set to be suspended a week before.
This will be the call-up period for international coaches that will begin on November 14 to select their best squads.
The English Premiership season will be adjusted slightly to accommodate the tournament, with the opening day now set to take place on the earlier date of August 6.
The Qatar World Cup final match shall be played on December 18, meaning there won’t be much time for Premier League players to recover since Boxing Day, December 26, marks the resumption of the 2022-23 season.
Due to the adjustments, the Premier League campaign will end later than usual on May 28 and other leagues which run from August to May are expected to follow a similar schedule to the Premier League’s.
The UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League will also have adjusted schedules to accommodate the World Cup.
The Champions League will complete its qualifying rounds by the end of August, while the group stage will be crammed into the time from September 6-7 until November 1-2.
The knockout phase of the competition will resume as usual in February 2023 after the World Cup but the final will only be held on June 10, 2023 — with the Conference League’s final on June 7 and the Europa League’s final on May 31.
All these schedules will be beamed on SuperSport through DStv and GOtv as well as accessed on MyDStv and MyGOtv app.
In a statement, Zena Makunje — MultiChoice Malawi’s Corporate Affairs Manager — says DStv and GOtv “are the true home of football in Africa, offering a range and depth of action that no other rival can match.
“It’s literally ‘Unbeatable Football’! If you’re going to spend your money on something, it may as well be on the best football in the world,” she said. “SuperSport will be your home for all the action from Qatar 2022, with 32 of the planet’s top national teams battling it out over four weeks to write their names into football legend.
“DStv and GOtv have exclusive Pay TV rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the African continent and will be providing coverage of unrivalled depth, quality and quantity.
“SuperSport will give its viewers an unbeatable experience, with crystal clear High Definition visuals, top analysts and commentators, a range of language options, and the ability to watch games on the go via the DStv App.
“Whether you will be waving the flag of one of the five African nations representing us all; cheering on the French as they look to defend their title won in 2018; enjoying the samba rhythm of perennial World Cup regulars Brazil, or just hoping for the biggest upsets at every turn.
“We are proud to be the continent’s Pay TV destination for the greatest football event in on the globe. This is just another step in our mission to deliver value to our customers through providing incomparable entertainment and making it accessible to more viewers,” Makunje said.