Chelsea and Wolves win right to delay start of league season
Chelsea and Wolves have been given special dispensation by the Premier League to start the new season on Monday Sept 14, following their marathon campaigns.
With fixtures for the 2020-21 season to be released at 9am today, Manchester United and Manchester City are understood to have been given a delayed start, with their opening games a week later.
Both clubs were knocked out of European competition last weekend and will receive a 30-day break following talks with the Premier League, with their seasons to kick off on Sept 19.
But a compromise has been agreed with Chelsea and Wolves following their own exits from Europe, with the two clubs set to start two days after the Sept 12 start date.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and Nuno Espirito Santo, the Wolves head coach, had both pleaded with the league for an extended rest period.
Wolves’s arduous season finally ended a week ago on Tuesday, with their defeat by Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-final, 383 days after they played their first game of the season against Crusaders, while Chelsea’s season was extended by a further fortnight due to their participation in the FA Cup final and their defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Aug 8.
Nuno had been vocal in demanding his players were protected from injury by receiving a longer rest period, and the extra two days will be viewed as a minor victory.
Earlier this month, Nuno said: “I’m hopeful the Premier League will allow the teams involved a little bit more time, mainly because of the players.
“We know we have a tight schedule next season and they must be aware of the health of the players and take care of them. If you look back at previous seasons, three weeks [of rest] is good, but I don’t think it’s going to be possible.”
2020-21 fixture special Premier League schedule online from 9am telegraph.co.uk/sport