Soccer is a global phenomenon that transcends borders, with players from around the world competing in various domestic and international leagues. Throughout the year, players participate in prestigious leagues such as the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga. However, there are designated periods within the season when club action pauses, and players switch their focus to national team duties. This period is known as the international break.

The international break is a set period during the soccer season when club competitions are suspended, and players are released to join their national teams for international fixtures. The primary purpose of the international break is to accommodate the scheduling of international competitions, including qualifiers for major tournaments and friendly matches.

These breaks are crucial for organizations such as FIFA and other continental soccer governing bodies like UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, AFC, and CAF. These organizations utilize the international break to organize and conduct continental tournaments and qualifiers.

One of the main reasons for international breaks is to facilitate the qualification process for significant tournaments such as the World Cup, Euros, Gold Cup, Copa America, Asian Cup, and AFCON. Throughout several international breaks spanning a few seasons, national teams compete in qualification matches to secure their places in these prestigious events.

Does league play stop during national team play?

During an international break, top clubs are often left without their key players, who are away on national duty. This absence can disrupt the balance and performance of teams in domestic competitions. As a result, major leagues around the world pause their activities to accommodate the international schedule.

FIFA, in collaboration with leagues and confederations worldwide, meticulously plans the soccer calendar to incorporate international breaks. There are typically five international breaks throughout a season, which starts in August in Europe. The first international break usually occurs in the second week of September, followed by additional breaks in the second weeks of October and November.

The subsequent breaks take place in the third week of March in the following year, and the final break happens after the conclusion of the European domestic season and the UEFA Champions League tournament. The breaks are strategically placed to minimize disruption while ensuring ample time for international fixtures. The FIFA international break this summer won’t stop league play, however.

What leagues play through FIFA international breaks?

Fans of the beautiful game throughout the globe may look forward to an exciting summer of 2024. Highlights include the Copa America and the UEFA European Championship, more popularly known as Euro 2024, two of the sport’s most esteemed events.

Despite having players in both of these tournaments, MLS continues to play throughout the breaks. Thus, because he participates in Copa America, Lionel Messi may be absent from MLS for a month. However, apart from the Major League Soccer, which leagues continue to play during the international breaks?


  • England: League One and League Two plays during FIFA international breaks, while the Premier League and Championship do not.
  • Finland: The Veikkausliiga runs from April to October, providing continuous action throughout the summer.
  • Norway: The Eliteserien season spans from March to November, ensuring play during the summer months.
  • Republic of Ireland: The League of Ireland operates from late February to late October.
  • Sweden: The Allsvenskan season runs from March or early April to late October or early November.


  • Egypt: The Egyptian Premier League runs from September to July.
  • Kenya: The Kenyan Premier League operates from March to November.
  • Libya: The Libyan Premier League spans from October to June.
  • Nigeria: The Nigerian Premier League runs from September to June.


  • Brazil: The Campeonato Brasileiro Série A runs from early May to early December, ensuring summer play.
  • Canada: The Canadian Premier League season spans from early April to late October.
  • Ecuador: The Ecuadorian Serie A operates from mid-February to early December.
  • United States and Canada: Major League Soccer operates from early March to early November.
  • Uruguay: The Uruguayan Primera División runs from early February to mid-November or early December.


  • Bangladesh: The Bangladesh Premier League runs from December to July.
  • China: The Chinese Super League operates from March or April to late October.
  • Indonesia: Liga 1 runs from April to November.
  • Iran: The Persian Gulf Pro League operates from July to May.
  • Japan: The J1 League runs from late February to early December.
  • South Korea: The K League 1 operates from early March to late November.
  • Laos: The Lao Premier League runs from February to September.
  • Malaysia: The Malaysia Super League operates from February to October.
  • Philippines: The United Football League runs from January to June.
  • Singapore: The S.League runs from February to November.
  • Vietnam: The V.League 1 runs from mid-February to mid-October.