Football Article

Calendar Pressures Force Changes to English Football Competitions

Calendar Pressures Force Changes to English Football Competitions Photo: TT
Calendar pressures force changes to English football competitions

Due to the pressures put on the English football calendar by the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of changes have had to be made to the schedule for the coming Premier League campaign to ensure all the games that need to be played can be fitted in the time available.

The new season will begin with the traditional opener, the Community Shield, between the Premier League champions, Liverpool, and FA Cup holders on August 30th at Wembley, and then after an international break, the Premier League campaign for 2020 2021 will start on September 12th.

It will run until May 23rd, and, in the intervening period, clubs will need to fit in 38 league games, two domestic cup competitions, and, for those in Europe, either the Champions League or the Europa League.

There also mandatory FIFA international breaks which need to be accommodated into the schedule as well, with both the Nations League and World Cup qualifiers to be played.

Some changes have had to be made.

It means, for next season at least, the end of FA Cup replays. All matches will be decided on the day, with extra time and penalties, if need be, used to decide the winner. And the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup. Which is normally played on a two-leg basis, home and away, will become a one-legged affair on a neutral ground.

And the winter break has been cancelled. This was introduced into the Premier League for the first-time last season, although it is common in a number of other European leagues. It was intended to allow all teams a weekend and full midweek off during February and was brought into to give players the chance to rest and recuperate, both for the benefit of the clubs, and the English national team.

That too, though, has had to be sacrificed on the altar of expediency.

Players are now at risk of injury and burn-out in the months to come. Already many elite players are unlikely to get the minimum three weeks rest recommended by the global players union, FIFPro, this summer. And with very little chance for downtime in the months to come, clubs may expect their treatment rooms to begin filling up.

Suneer chowdhary
Sports Pundit staff writer @suneerchowdhary
ICC-accredited cricket journalist, covers Team India through their cricketing journey around the world

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