Tough opening week for Magpies

PA Sport

Newcastle will have to play twice in three days at the start of the new season after both UEFA and police refused pleas to reschedule games.

Alan Pardew's men face a televised Barclays Premier League trip to Chelsea on Saturday, August 25 less than 48 hours after they play the first leg of their Europa League qualifier on Thursday, August 23.

The Magpies asked for the Chelsea game, which is being screened by ESPN at 5.30pm, to be moved back a day, but were refused permission by the Metropolitan Police, and subsequently failed with a request to UEFA to bring the earlier game forward 24 hours.

Details of the situation were revealed as the first wave of televised fixtures for the new Premier League campaign were confirmed on Thursday morning.

A club statement said: "Supporters will notice that our fixture against Chelsea remains scheduled for Saturday, August 25, with our Europa League fourth qualifying round fixture on the preceding Thursday.

"Prior to the TV selections being made and in accordance with normal procedure, the club made an application to move the Chelsea game to Sunday, August 26.

"Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Police refused this request on the basis of other scheduled activities in and around London at this time.

"The club and the Premier League subsequently made representations to UEFA to request that our Europa League match be moved from the Thursday to the Wednesday in order to avoid the team having to play two games in three days.

"UEFA unfortunately rejected this request."

Newcastle now face an even tougher start to the season with Tottenham due on Tyneside for the opening league fixture on Saturday, August 18 ahead of a potentially gruelling week.

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