FA Cup Final is set for a June date next season as a result of the Winter World Cup fixture squeeze.
Prem clubs will have a six-week league break from November 13 until Boxing Day because of the tournament in Qatar.
And in a draft fixture list sent to clubs ahead of’ “shareholder” meeting in London, the full implications of congestion are laid out.
The Prem is now set to start on August 6, a week earlier than this term, with midweek fixtures at the end of August – meaning five games before the transfer window shuts – and the middle of October.
But with Uefa intending to play all six group games in its three competitions before the World Cup kicks off and the Carabao Cup early rounds to fit in as well, it means just 16 top-flight matches will have been played before the Prem resumes on December 26.
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The fourth round of the Carabao Cup has been penciled in for the midweek between the December 18 World Cup Final and Prem restart, giving clubs a potential “warm-up” game.
But it still means leading clubs who go all the way in the two domestic cups and in Europe face playing up to 40 matches between Boxing Day and the end of the season.
To make that possible, the Prem campaign will be extended until the last Sunday in May, with the FA Cup Final completing the season on June 3, one week before the Champions League Final in Istanbul.
That proposed schedule, which will impact on clubs’ ability to embark on lucrative pre-season tours, will be just one of the items discussed as clubs hold one of their scheduled meetings in the capital for the first time since February 2020.
But the biggest issue of contention is likely to be the planned “Owners Charter”, described as “toothless” by some clubs.
Clubs finally received the revised nine-point document on Thursday, despite asking for updates since the original proposals were rejected at the summer meeting.
The Charter was supposed to be a way of ringfencing the current structure of the game, with clubs facing sanctions for involvement in any future breakaway proposals.
But there is anger among the clubs, some arguing the lack of defined punishments is unacceptable while others are furious at what they consider a flawed process.
Despite the frustrations, club bosses recognise that they will have little option other than to sign up to the proposals at the meeting, aware that anything else would leave them open to charges of seeking to reopen the Super League issue.
Yet there is genuine unhappiness that the questions and arguments raised by clubs earlier in the year have not been properly or adequately addressed.
It is understood the Charter will see the clubs seal their commitment to the football pyramid, with entry to other tournaments and competitions having to be earned on the field.
That is an attempt to bind all the clubs – including the Big Six – into a position where any negotiations about a self-elected elite would be a breach of regulations and open them up to significant punishments.
But all the Big Six, badly burned by the furious fan reaction to April’s attempted putsch, insist they are now committed to the Prem and have no interest in any Super League concept.
And other clubs argue that by failing to nail down exactly what punishments could apply to any potential rebels, the League is failing to take advantage of the ideal opportunity to nail down the coffin on the idea for good.
Mazi Akuma Chibuike reporting, Obinwannem News writer / September 22, 2021