When can the Premier League’s postponed fixtures take place? No midweek slots are free for the rest of the year, while cup competitions could make the schedule even more crammed in 2023 – with only THREE dates currently available
- Premier League games were postponed last weekend after the Queen’s death
- English football was shut down from the top flight to grass roots out of respect
- But Prem chiefs now face a tough challenge in rearranging the scrapped fixtures
- There are no free midweek slots for them to use before the end of the year
- In the second half of the season they only have three vacant midweek spaces
- European and domestic cup competitions could also complicate matters
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
Premier League football was put on hold last weekend following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, with top-flight officials deciding to postpone all 10 scheduled fixtures as a mark of respect for Britain’s longest-serving monarch.
Despite being given the green light by the Government to play on, the Premier League joined their EFL and FA counterparts in cancelling the weekend’s fixtures altogether, meaning there was a total shutdown in English football from the summit down to grassroots level.
But it is the country’s top division which faces the toughest task in rearranging their postponed fixtures. During an already-congested season which includes a winter World Cup in Qatar, Premier League chiefs must now find an appropriate time to play their proposed matches for game-week seven.
Premier League football was put on hold last weekend following the death of Queen Elizabeth
English top-flight chiefs now face a tough challenge in rearranging the 10 cancelled games
The biggest problem with doing so, however, is there are no midweek slots available for the remainder of 2022. And to make matters even more complicated, the second half of the campaign will be even more jam-packed due to Carabao Cup, FA Cup and European fixtures.
There may also be another round of games to reschedule, as this weekend’s next 10 matches too are under threat due to fears over police numbers with the Queen’s funeral set to take place on Monday 19 September.
So how can the Premier League solve its latest conundrum? Sportsmail has taken a closer look at their potential solutions.
Which games need to be rearranged?
PREMIER LEAGUE’S POSTPONED FIXTURES
Fulham vs Chelsea
Bournemouth vs Brighton
Southampton vs Brentford
Liverpool vs Wolves
Leicester vs Aston Villa
Man City vs Tottenham
Arsenal vs Everton
West Ham vs Newcastle
Crystal Palace vs Man United
Leeds vs Nottingham Forest
All 10 games from the seventh round of Premier League fixtures were not played at the weekend, meaning they will need to be contested at a later date in the season.
Should a lack of policing numbers derail this weekend’s matches too, the top flight will be left scrambling to fit two more game-weeks into a hectic season.
On the day before the Queen’s funeral, Brentford vs Arsenal, Man United vs Leeds and Everton vs West Ham are currently due to take place at 2pm, before Chelsea host Liverpool at 4:30pm.
The Premier League is believed to be assessing potential solutions for the London-based matches, which include moving Chelsea vs Liverpool from Stamford Bridge to Anfield. It could also be brought forward to Saturday evening, although Arsenal would not be able to play on this day given their Europa League involvement on Thursday.
Will European matches go ahead?
According to The Sun, there are currently no plans for European fixtures involving British clubs to be cancelled this week.
On Tuesday night Tottenham are due to go away to Sporting Lisbon and Liverpool are hosting Ajax in the Champions League, before Rangers, Chelsea and Manchester City all play at home on Wednesday – when Celtic make the trip to Shakhtar Donetsk.
Arsenal then host PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League on Thursday, while Man United go away to Sheriff.
West Ham and Hearts are also in Europa Conference League action on the same night.
When could postponed Premier League fixtures take place?
As things stand, Premier League officials have no dates free for the rest of 2022 to play their delayed round of matches.
From next Monday domestic football is put on hold for the latest international break, and every midweek between then and the World Cup in November is already being used for European ties, league fixtures and the Carabao Cup.
MIDWEEK SCHEDULE FOR 2023
Jan. 10 – Carabao Cup QF
Jan. 17 – FA Cup R3 replays
Jan. 24 – Carabao Cup SF L1
Jan. 31 – Carabao Cup SF L2
Feb. 7 – FA Cup R4 replays
Feb. 14 – European competition knockouts
Feb. 21 – European competition knockouts
Feb. 28 – FA Cup R5
March 7 – European competition knockouts
March 14 – European competition knockouts
March 21 – International break
March 28 – International break
April 4 – Vacant midweek
April 11 – European competition QF
April 18 – European competition QF
April 25 – Premier League fixtures
May 2 – Vacant midweek
May 9 – European competition SF
May 16 – European competition SF
May 23 – Vacant midweek
Following the Qatar showpiece, English football returns on the week of December 20 with the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, before three rounds of Premier League games take place over the Christmas period.
In 2023 there are only three vacant midweek slots the Premier League could turn to before the season’s end on May 28, yet these dates have been left so for a reason.
Teams involved in the Carabao Cup final on February 26, plus the FA Cup quarter-finals and semi-finals in March and April, will need to move their league fixtures scheduled for those dates.
It could also become even more complicated should a team go far in European competition as well as domestic tournaments, leaving the Premier League with even fewer dates to rearrange their multiple fixtures.
Can games be moved to European, Carabao Cup or FA Cup midweeks?
Clubs who progress to the Champions League knockout stages have two extra spare midweeks during the round of 16, which is held in February and March. It is the same story for Europa League and Europa Conference League group winners. This could offer one potential solution for the Premier League to turn to.
They could also look to stage some matches on the same night as European fixtures, although there is a Memorandum Of Understanding between domestic leagues and UEFA to prevent these clashes from happening.
The Premier League was fined £1.1m for doing so in 2013, and while this has been relaxed in recent years it is still advised to avoid a clash if possible.
Nevertheless, if they have few other options the English top flight can use European midweeks to play their postponed games, but that might not be of use for the seven teams involved: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man United, Tottenham and West Ham.
Another potential issue would be for clubs who finish third in their Champions League group, second or third in their Europa League group, or second in their Europa Conference League group, as they will then have to play two knockout ties in February before a possible pair of last-16 ties in March.
What’s the solution?
The Premier League will be hoping to make use of their three vacant midweek slots, which could be possible if teams avoid European knockout ties in February.
In the worst-case scenario, they could also scrap third and fourth-round replays in the FA Cup, which was necessary in each of the last two seasons due to Covid-19 postponements. Doing so would free up two extra midweek slots.
Carabao Cup semi-finals could be made one-legged affairs, too, to open up another midweek.
Whatever their thinking, the Premier League cannot extend the 2022-23 season to accommodate their postponed fixtures, as the FA Cup final (June 3) and Champions League final (June 10) are taking place before an international break for Euro 2024 qualifiers.
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