Scottish Premiership clubs could face fixture pile-up, warns Neil Doncaster | Football News

Doncaster confirmed you will have no cold weather break in 2020/21 season but remains hopeful fans will be able to attend matches at some stage

Last Updated: 06/07/20 11:48am










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SPFL leader Neil Doncaster explains the challenges they faced in organising the schedule for next season’s Scottish Premiership

SPFL leader Neil Doncaster explains the challenges they faced in organising the schedule for next season’s Scottish Premiership

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has warned Scottish Premiership clubs they could face significant scheduling difficulties if a few of next season’s fixtures need to be re-arranged.

The 2020/21 Premiership fixtures – that will be shown exclusively on Sky Sports – were unveiled on Monday, with the summer season due to start August 1.

The campaign will not have a winter break as the SPFL continues to manage the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, which suspended football in March.

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Doncaster insists they made the best decision in ending the summer season early, despite Hearts and Partick Thistle launching legal action over their relegation

Doncaster insists they made the best decision in ending the summer season early, despite Hearts and Partick Thistle launching legal action over their relegation

Donacaster explained the need to conclude the 2019/20 Scottish Cup – which can be at the semi-final stage – along with UEFA being forced to clear a backlog of European fixtures, means clubs could face playing four matches in eight days.

He told Sky Sports News: “The challenges this season have been compounded by the truth that UEFA took a lot of the dates that would ordinarily be available for the outstanding Europa League and Champions League games.

“We have the outstanding Scottish Cup semi-finals and final that still must be plugged in from the summer season 19-20 in to this year, after which we have got the Euros in June next year.

The first Old Firm match is scheduled for October 17

The first Old Firm match is scheduled for October 17

“All of the has meant that we haven’t been able to support a cold weather break this season, and it has been extremely challenging to get every one of the fixtures away.

“We have just 34 spaces for games this side of the split up in April and we now have got 33 games to squeeze in, so if there are any delays as a result of weather or Scottish Cup replays – whatever it might be – then there is a problem.

“We have had in the past a situation where clubs have had to play four games in eight days and we certainly hope that won’t be the case this year, but that’s the contingency if it needs to be used.”

Scottish clubs have already been granted permission to resume full-contact training by the Scottish government, however it remains unclear what the time-frame is for allowing fans back to stadiums.

Newly-promoted Dundee United face St Johnstone in their first game back in Scotland's top flight

Newly-promoted Dundee United face St Johnstone within their first game back in Scotland’s top flight

However, Doncaster was hopeful fans could return over time for the very first Old Firm fixture of the season on October 17, but says they will be eventually be guided by the us government.

“We are in a situation at the moment where we are not even allowed to play friendly games let alone competitive games,” explained Doncaster. “We are waiting on Scottish government approval, which will hopefully be forthcoming shortly for both friendly games after which the commencement of competitive matches on August 1.

“[We are] working together with the Scottish government and hopefully getting fans back as soon as safely possible.”

Confirmed Scottish Premiership games go on Sky Sports

Sat Aug 1: Aberdeen vs Rangers – 5.30pm

Sun Aug 2: Celtic vs Hamilton – 4.30pm

Mon Aug 3: Ross County vs Motherwell – 7.45pm

Sat Aug 8: St Johnstone vs Aberdeen – 12.30pm

Sun Aug 9: Kilmarnock vs Celtic – 4.30pm

Tue Aug 11: Dundee Utd vs Hibernian – 6pm

Wed Aug 12: St Mirren vs Celtic – 6pm

Sat Aug 15: Hibernian vs Motherwell – 5.30pm

Sun Aug 16: Livingston vs Rangers – 4.30pm

Sat Aug 22: Dundee Utd vs Celtic – 5.30pm

Sun Aug 23: St Johnstone vs Hibernian – 4.30pm

Sat Aug 29: Hamilton v Rangers – 5.30pm

Sun Aug 30: Hibernian vs Aberdeen – 4.30pm

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