Newcastle are hoping to avoid a fixture pile-up right at the start of the season, and currently they are due to play three games in the first eight days of the season, and two games in three days.
Newcastle will entertain Tottenham at St. James’ Park on the first day of the season, 18th August, and then they play the European Champions Chelsea the following Saturday at Stamford Bridge, with both games being televised live by ESPN.
However, the first leg of the Europa League play-off tie is currently scheduled for the Thursday (August 23) before the Chelsea game, and Newcastle have tried to get the Chelsea game put back to the Sunday, to give them a bit more time.
Of course the other problem is that Newcastle don’t know who their opponents will be, and will not know until the draw is made on Friday, August 10th.
Newcastle have already asked the Premier League to move back the game, but London’s Metropolitan Police denied the request, because the Notting Hill Carnival is on the same day.
Newcastle then tried to get the qualifying game moved one day earlier to Wednesday (August 22), but that has been rejected by UEFA.
However, the latest news, and it’s getting to be a little more sane hopefully, is that UEFA have told the Tyneside club that a rescheduling could be possible if both Newcastle’s opponents and their two National associations agree to any switch.
But that will not come after the Europa League play-off draw takes place, which doesn’t happen until Friday, August 10, so Newcastle will have precious little time for scheduling.
Is this crazy or is this crazy?
A UEFA spokesman told Press Association Sport yesterday:
“In principle, UEFA is not in a position to change the requested fixture from Thursday to Wednesday or Tuesday.” “However, after the draw ceremony for the play-offs, if the opponent agrees to re-schedule the match date to the Tuesday, August 21 before 1830 CET, the UEFA Administration will be open to consider the request. ”
To make it just a little bit more difficult, written approval is required from the opponent club as well as the respective National associations of both teams involved.
This is hardly how Newcastle wanted to start the season, and it’s simply a mess, and it doesn’t look like too much help is being given to Newcastle to sort it out either.
And presumably Newcastle will not be able to do anything about it until after August 10th.