The 2020-21 English Premier League season will begin on September 12 and the final round of matches will be held on May 23, the league announced on Friday.
The new season, originally scheduled to begin on August 8, has been delayed this year after the Premier League suspended the 2019-20 season for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current season will end with a final round of fixtures on Sunday, giving teams about seven weeks to prepare for the next campaign.
However, teams still competing in the Champions League and Europa League will have less time to prepare should they advance deeper into the knockout stages, with the finals of the two competitions to be held on August 23 and August 21 respectively.
The new season kicks off after the international break with European football’s governing body UEFA announcing last month that Nations League matches would be played between September 3-8.
Leagues across Europe will be looking to wrap up their seasons next May with the postponed 2020 Euros set to begin on June 11, 2021.
The Premier League also added that they would continue to consult with the Football Association (FA) and the English Football League (EFL) regarding the scheduling of domestic competitions.
The EFL announced later on Friday that the second-tier Championship, third-tier League One and fourth-tier League Two seasons would also kick off on the weekend of September 12 and conclude on May 8-9, 2021.
The play-off finals next season will be held in the final weekend of May.
The Championship’s regular season concluded on Wednesday with the playoff final to be played on August 4.
League One clubs voted to end this season early with the final table calculated on a points-per-game basis but held the playoffs behind closed doors.
Champions Coventry City and Rotherham United were automatically promoted along with playoffs winner Wycombe Wanderers.
There was a similar outcome in League Two with Northampton Town winning the playoffs to go up along with champions Swindon Town, as well as Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle.
What new rules will be introduced for the Premier League 2020-21 season?
The rule change, implemented for the restart of the Premier League and the remainder of the 2019-20 season, allows for teams to make five substitutional changes – an increase from the usual three.
Additionally, the maximum number of substitutes permitted to sit on the bench was also increased from seven to nine.
The rule changes were made with player welfare in mind, and to ease footballers back into the physical demands of the game following three months without regular competitive action.
Though the rule was initially introduced only for competitions ending in 2020, Premier League clubs are set to meet at the end of July to discuss if the rule will become permanent for the 2020-21 season.
The directors of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) extended the amendment to the laws of the game to apply to league competitions that end on or before July 31, 2021.
Each competition, however, will be able to decide individually if they wish to implement the rule permanently.
A statement from IFAB read: “Following the decision taken on 8 May 2020 to give competitions scheduled to be completed in 2020 the option of allowing teams to use up to five substitutes, the IFAB Board of Directors had agreed to review whether to extend this option further.
“On the basis of this in-depth review based on stakeholder feedback and analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on competition calendars, the IFAB Board of Directors has approved to extend the option to competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 July 2021 and international competitions scheduled in July/August 2021.
“The main reason for the temporary amendment to Law 3 – The Players was the impact on player welfare of competitions being played in a condensed period and in different weather conditions.
“The recent review has shown that the reasons for the temporary amendment remain valid and the impact on player welfare is likely to continue into 2021.”
The initial statement from IFAB drew criticism from various football figures, with the likes of Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville suggesting that the allowance of more substitutes would unfairly benefit affluent clubs.
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