Premier League

Premier League clubs seek delay to ease fixture congestion

The Premier League concluded last weekend but Manchester City, Manchester United and Wolves could have another three weeks of European action.

Premier League clubs seek delay to ease fixture congestion
MARTIN RICKETT REUTERS

The Premier League is expected to announce a guaranteed 30-day recovery period for clubs who go far in European competitions to minimise the risk to player health. A decision will be made at the league’s AGM on August 6 with Manchester City, Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers all hoping to make it to the UEFA finals in Lisbon in August.

United and Wolves are hoping to reach the Europa League final while City are dreaming of a first Champions League final appearance, with the games to be held on Friday 21 and Sunday 23 August respectively.

If the Premier League agree to allow a month off after the completion of the 2019/20 European campaign any side reaching the final would have a substantial delay to their next league season. Wolves and United would not be able to play until Sunday 20 September and City’s break would last until Tuesday 22 September. The current start date for the 2020/21 Premier League season is 12 September.

UEFA competitions to continue as planned

The Premier League look likely to make some allowances for clubs but UEFA’s planned international break in early September is still going ahead, with two rounds of Nations League fixtures taking place from 3-8 September.

England travel to Iceland on 5 September and then host Denmark on the 8th. Current European champions Portugal have representatives at all three English clubs likely to be involved in the latter stages of UEFA competitions, with Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and João Moutinho all key players for both their club and international sides.

As it stands, they would be expected to play for their clubs up to the 22 August, have a two-week break before travelling to Portugal and then to Sweden to play two games in four days. They would then need to be back at their clubs within two weeks for the start of the next league campaign.

It is a gruelling task for the players involved and their clubs will have to limit their minutes to avoid burn-out so early in the new season. Premier League clubs have little choice but to release the players involved after already taking a €70million advance from UEFA. Over 600 clubs from UEFA’s 55 member associations receive compensation ranging from €3,200 to €630,000 to release players for international competition.