The Premier League will announce its December fixture programme on Monday, seven days after its own deadline passed, having dealt with major logistical challenges in getting the busy programme resolved.
The league initially told fans that it would announce the games on Oct 11, with broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sports selecting the games for live coverage. The third, Amazon Prime Video, has two rounds of fixtures in their entirety. The clubs have already been given draft lists of the fixtures in order to consult with local police forces and Safety Advisory Groups but not all of those scheduled so far have been possible to play on the dates suggested.
There are eight rounds of fixtures from 30 November to New Year’s Day before the league halts temporarily for the FA Cup third round on the weekend of January 8-9 next year. The January fixtures will follow after Monday's announcement. In a statement the Premier League said: “The announcement of broadcast selections for the month of December has been delayed. Discussions surrounding the festive match schedule have continued this week, and we hope to be in a position on Monday to confirm all fixture amendments for the month.”
The scheduling of games has become ever more complex with the numbers now broadcast. Under the Covid lockout of fans, games could be moved at much shorter notice. The league is also obliged to give the mandatory rest days to every club and some simply cannot be accommodated because of local pressure. Manchester United were forced to change the kick-off time of their home fixture against Aston Villa last month because of a clash with a concert by The Courteeners at the Old Trafford cricket ground less than a mile from the club’s stadium.
The league has come under pressure from fans’ groups to make an announcement so that supporters can organise travel to games over Christmas and the New Year. Sky Sports and BT Sport submit their picks to the league and games are moved accordingly. Amazon Prime Video has two rounds in their entirety, the first on the midweek slot beginning November 30 and then again on the midweek slot starting December 28.