Wrong to pause top-flight football for the World Cup, say Premier League fans
November 17th, 2022, Christien Pheby

Wrong to pause top-flight football for the World Cup, say Premier League fans

The club vs. country” dilemma has an unusual dimension this year, with the FIFA World Cup – normally a post-season competition – putting the men’s Premier League on hold from 13 November to 26 December.

It’s a compromise most supporters aren’t particularly happy to make. New YouGov Survey Direct data shows that, among fans of Premier League clubs, over half think it was wrong to pause the elite men’s competition (53%) – for Qatar 2022, with just a third (34%) saying it was right to do so. Ask them directly if they’d prefer to watch top-flight football or the World Cup, and 56% choose the former, with 31% opting for the latter.

This doesn’t necessarily mean fans aren’t excited for Qatar 2022. In fact, three in five Premier League supporters are looking forward to the tournament (60%), with just two in five (39%) saying the reverse.

And while star players like Mohamed Salah, Erling Haaland and Jorginho will be absent, fans don’t overwhelmingly expect the games to be worse. While a quarter (23%) say they expect the competition to have a lesser standard of football than the Premier League, a fifth (19%) anticipate that it will be better, and nearly half think it will be roughly the same quality (46%).

But the unique circumstances of this year’s World Cup have created some unique complications. Beyond concerns about the competition being held in Qatar in the first place, most Premier League fans simply think it ought to be a summertime contest (62%) compared to Autumn (8%), Winter (3%), or Spring (12%).

And while most Premier League fans aren’t worried that their club’s players will get injured in Qatar (51%), more than two in five say injuries are a concern (44%).

A plurality of top-flight fans also simply care more about their club’s performance than their country’s. Given the choice of their national team winning the World Cup or their club team winning the Premier League, two in five Premier League supporters say they would prefer it if the national football team they support lifted the trophy (40%) - but nearly half (47%) say they would want to see their club come top of the league.


YouGov polled 1,000 British fans of English Premier League clubs online on 7-8 November. The survey was carried out through YouGov Survey Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, region, and social grade. Learn more about YouGov Survey Direct.

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