Premier League avoid FA Cup clash

PA Sport
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Premier League clubs have agreed to move all matches on the penultimate weekend of the season to the Sunday to avoid a clash with the FA Cup final on Saturday May 5.

Fixture congestion caused by the need for a break before Euro 2012 and the Champions League final being played on a Saturday forced the FA to move the FA Cup climax to a weekend where top-flight league matches were also scheduled.

A fixture pile-up last season saw Premier League games played on the same day as the final, but the 20 club chairmen agreed at a meeting to move to the Sunday.

Premier League communications director Dan Johnson said: "We realise that it is not good for either competition to have our matches conflicting with the FA Cup."

The only exceptions will be if an English club is involved in the Europa League final the following Wednesday and would prefer to play on the Saturday, and if Sky choose to show a top-flight match in the Saturday lunchtime slot - the Premier League would be contractually obliged to agree to that.

Lunchtime kick-offs should not conflict greatly with the FA Cup final as this year, for the first time, the kick-off is at 5.15pm.

The chairmen also unanimously agreed to bring in the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), a change to the youth development system which has been opposed by some lower league clubs, from next season.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: "The clubs unanimously backed the EPPP and adopted the rules necessary to implement it.

"The hard work already done in progressing the system of youth development really is just the start, but the commitment shown by the Premier League clubs, mirrored by the Football Association and Football League, means that there will be more and better homegrown players at every single level of English professional football."

It was also confirmed, as expected, that next season's Premier League will kick off on August 18, six days after the end of the London Olympics.

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