Manchester United, City and Wolves ‘could MISS the start of next season’

Manchester United, Manchester City and Wolves are facing up to the prospect of missing the start of next season if they are still playing European football in August, according to The Sun.

City are favourites to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the first leg of their last-16 tie at the Bernabeu, while United and Wolves have both legs of their Europa League last-16 ties to play.

But with UEFA’s plan to finish both competitions in August, the schedules of the Premier League trio could clash with the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire could be left with no summer break due to a schedule clash
Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire could be left with no summer break due to a schedule clash

The Sun claim that all 20 top-flight clubs will hold a video conference next week to decide when next season will begin after the current term was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Three weekends are reportedly on the table – August 22, August 29 and September 12 – with a ‘number of clubs’ said to prefer the later date in order to give themselves maximum time to prepare.

However, it is also claimed that Premier League officials have been warned that the new season could kick-off as early as August 22.

That could cause a major issue for United, City and Wolves, with the Europa League final set for August 21 and the Champions League final taking place on August 23.

Should each club make their respective finals, they would be unable to play their opening game of the new season and would have to fit their first fixture in during a free midweek slot.

The delay to the European campaign – combined with the prospect of an August restart in the Premier League – could also leave the trio with virtually no summer break ahead of what promises to be a gruelling season.

The August 22 date is said to be on the table because the Premier League’s deal with broadcasters states that there will be 34 weekends involved in each season.

The 2020-21 campaign must be finished no later than May 16 because players must have a break before the delayed Euro 2020 tournament gets underway on June 11.

Chelsea could also find themselves in the same predicament as United, City and Wolves, but they must overcome a 3-0 first leg defeat when they face Bayern Munich in the second leg of their last-16 tie in early August.