Chelsea and Wolves win right to de­lay start of league sea­son

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - Ex­clu­sive By John Percy

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

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