When will 2020/21 season start across Europe's major leagues?
After the disruption to the 2019/20 season due to the coronavirus, governing bodies are eager to get next term underway as soon as possible.
After around three months of delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, European club football is close to reaching its conclusion across the domestic leagues. The Bundesliga was the first to resume after the suspension and finished its fixtures in late June. The Premier League and LaLiga both ended recently, while the Ligue 1 campaign was officially brought to a close in April. The only major European league still playing is Serie A, which has its final round of fixtures this weekend.
There is still the small matter of the Champions League and Europa League to play in August and an international break in early September, but after missing months of action earlier this year the major European league are eager to get the next campaign started promptly.
Here’s what we know so far about the start dates for the 2020/21 season…
The English top flight is scheduled to return on 12 September, over a month later than the previous campaign started. With English clubs hoping to make it to the finals of the continental competitions in August, there is talk of ring-fencing a 30-day rest period for teams after the conclusion of the 2019/20 season. This means that Manchester City, Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers could end up kicking off up to ten days later.
Spain has set the same start date as England, with games beginning on 12 September. The LaLiga campaign is scheduled to finish on 23 May 2021 to bring them back in step with the regular season cycle in time for the European Championships, which have been moved to next summer.
German football was the first of the major leagues to restart after the pandemic suspension but looks likely to be the latest one to start the 2020/21 season. Bundesliga officials have set a date of 18 September for the new campaign to begin, allowing clubs a full two-and-a-half month pre-season. The German top flight has 18 teams rather than the more typical 20, so has fewer games to schedule.
In April, the French government imposed a ban on all large sporting events until September, so Ligue 1 had little choice but to conclude the season then and crown Paris Saint-Germain champions. However, since then the picture has changed and the French top flight is now set to return on 22 August, just two weeks later than the start date for the 2019/20 season.
Currently there is no official start date for the 2020/21 Serie A season, but the Italian Football Federation has given a deadline for the end of the current season’s competitions and a guideline date for the beginning of next term.
"The Italian Football Federation has expressed its willingness to restart and complete its national professional competitions, marking 20 August as the deadline for Serie A, B and C to close their competitions," the body said in a May statement. "Finally, as a result of what has been sanctioned, the 2020-21 sporting season will start on 1 September."
Serie A is unlikely to be able to get underway right at the start of the month due to the international break from 3-8 September, but could begin on 12 September, the same as the Premier League and LaLiga.
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