Premier League edging closer to 2020/21 season September start date but it may affect FA Cup and Carabao Cup
Premier League clubs are understood to be working towards a September 12 start date for next season.
However, this could place the League Cup under serious threat, while FA Cup replays could be scrapped.
It’s understood that three potential starting weekends for the 2020/21 campaign (August 22 and 29 and the September date) were proposed at a Premier League shareholders meeting.
September 5 has been ruled out as this will be the first international break since November 2019.
League chiefs were hoping on an early start for a season that must finish by May 16, 2021 because of the required rest period before the delayed Euro 2020.
However, that would mean Manchester City, Manchester United and Wolves could miss the opening weekend if they are still involved in rescheduled Champions League and Europa League mini-tournaments.
This idea was discussed at the shareholder meeting involving all 20 clubs but no formal decision was made.
talkSPORT understands that clubs are leaning towards the September option – with one reason being the hope that a later start would increase the possibility of some fans being allowed back in grounds by then.
However, a later start date would have a huge impact on both domestic cup competitions.
Top flight clubs not involved in European competition enter the Carabao Cup at the third round stage, which is normally scheduled for the last full week of September. The fourth round is then played in the final days of October.
But UEFA has already organised the six matches in the group phases of the two European competitions to be played over an eight-week spell starting on October 20.
That period includes the two midweek dates lost to the November international break, meaning there would be no opportunity for clubs to play in the Carabao Cup unless they can use their youth sides.
A September 12 start will also impact on the League’s commercial broadcast deals and the FA Cup.
The terms of the current deals have committed to 34 weekend fixture dates but a September 12 start means there will only be a maximum of 32 weekends available before the end of the season.
However, there’s the added obstacle to include the winter break, which was first introduced this term, amid the fixture backlog. This could thus affect the fourth and fifth rounds of the FA Cup.
It means there will be even less room for replays, which were still in place for the third and fourth rounds this season, although they no longer happen from the fifth round and beyond.
The FA and EFL will look for financial recompense, while Wembley chiefs face an extra issue if they have to give up replays which were confirmed in their own broadcast deals.
It’s understood the clubs will confirm the start date at their next meeting, which is due to take place on July 23.
The dates for the summer transfer window were also due to be confirmed in a meeting on Thursday, however, the final decision on when that will happen has been pushed back.