Manchester United and Wolves resume their Europa League campaigns next month

The Premier League is considering letting the four clubs still involved in European competition start next season later than everyone else.

The most likely start date for the 2020-21 campaign is 12 September – seven weeks after the end of the current season.

However, Chelsea and Manchester City are still in the Champions League, while Manchester United and Wolves are in the Europa League.

They play outstanding last-16 matches between 5 and 8 August and if they progress will go on to single-leg ‘final eight’ tournaments, with the Europa League final on 21 August and the Champions League final two days later.

That will be one week before the start of an international break in the first week of September.

So it could mean those clubs’ players not getting the generally accepted minimum three-week break, something world players’ union FIFPro has insisted should be adhered to.

The Premier League’s other clubs – apart from those in the FA Cup final on 1 August – would have a five-week gap between the end of this season on 26 July and the start of the international break.

The issue is part of a wider challenge for governing bodies to fit in as normal a season as possible, despite the prospect of starting the campaign five weeks late and having to complete the season in May in time for the start of the delayed European Championships and Copa America on 11 June.

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Uefa says next season’s Champions League group stage will take place across six successive midweeks from 20 October and the only break will come for the second international ‘triple header’ between 9 and 17 November.

European football’s governing body still requires domestic competitions not to schedule fixtures on these match nights and, if that does happen, it would mean English football having its solidarity payments reduced.

BBC Sport understands it has already been decided that English football’s winter break, brought in this season to help England boss Gareth Southgate with preparations for the Euros, will have to be scrapped.

In addition a number of other proposals are also under discussion with all the major stakeholders, including getting rid of FA Cup replays and the introduction of ‘non-exclusive’ FA Cup weekends before the sixth round.

The FA has already conceded that the fact there will be no non-league football in August, when the cup actually starts, may mean fewer participants.

And there could also be major changes to the EFL Cup if clubs involved in European competition are to take part.

A senior source at a leading Premier League club has told the BBC that the first casualty if competitions have to be fundamentally changed would be the EFL Cup.

The tournament has been in existence since 1960-61 and been won by Manchester City for the past three seasons.

While the prize money – £100,000 to the winner and £50,000 to the runner-up – is small in comparison to other competitions, it represents a significant revenue stream for the Football League.

EFL sources point to the fact individual ties can be handy money-spinners for those involved. In addition, the broadcasting and commercial deals negotiated around the competition get returned to the lower league clubs and, in some instances, form a vital part of their annual income.



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