The Premier League has opted against staging fixtures on Christmas Eve.
December 24 falls on a Sunday this year and there had been speculation matches could be played on that date. However, in announcing the broadcast selections for the Christmas period, the Premier League said there would be no games on December 24.
A Premier League statement read: “There will be no Premier League fixtures on Sunday, December 24. Four matches have been selected for live UK coverage that weekend, with three to be televised on Saturday, December 23.”
Arsenal’s match with Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium will take place on Friday, December 22. Everton v Chelsea, Burnley v Tottenham and Leicester against Manchester United will all be televised on Saturday, December 23, the latter with a 1945GMT kick-off.
The Premier League matches selected for broadcast by Sky Sports and BT Sport announced on Thursday were for the period from December 2 to 28, covering six rounds of matches. Twenty four fixtures were selected for live coverage in the UK.
The Premier League insisted supporters’ feelings on festive fixtures were taken into account to reduce travel times for traditional Boxing Day and New Year’s Day games.
Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore said: “We appreciate this is the peak time for supporters attending and watching the Premier League. With matches scheduled on Christmas weekend for the first time in 11 years, the process of selecting games for live broadcast has been a more complex one than usual and I would like to thank our broadcast partners and clubs for their co-operation and flexibility.
“When selecting matches, the broadcasters are using the rights that we the Premier League and the clubs have sold them, and they should therefore not be criticised for doing so.”
Two matches were selected for live broadcast on Boxing Day: Tottenham v Southampton at 1230GMT and Liverpool v Swansea at 1730GMT. All other games that day kick-off at 1500GMT, while Newcastle v Manchester City has been switched to 1945GMT on December 27 and Crystal Palace v Arsenal to 2000GMT on December 28.
The broadcast selections for the final round of December fixtures and the month of January will be announced “no later” than October 27, the Premier League said.
Source: By PA Sport Staff