CHELSEA, Tottenham, Manchester City and Burton will have to wait until January 7 to find out when the second legs of the Carabao Cup semi-finals will take place.
The EFL, which runs the tournament, confirmed today that the dates cannot be confirmed until the FA Cup 4th Round draw is completed – and could then lead to a fixture pile-up.
Spurs host Chelsea while City welcome Burton in the first legs – which will be played on Tuesday January 8 and Wednesday January 9 respectively as confirmed this week.
But they still do not know when the reverse games at Stamford Bridge and the Pirelli Stadium will take place due to a “complicated and congested fixture schedule”.
The EFL said: “Confirmed dates for the first leg ties were released earlier this week but finalising arrangements for the return legs is being held up by a complicated and congested fixture schedule.
“The challenge comes as a result of Club involvement in multiple competitions, and the EFL is working closely with the Premier League and the Football Association to reach an acceptable solution for all parties.
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“A decision will therefore be taken with the involvement of all parties when the options are clearer following the completion of the FA Cup Round Four Draw.”
The second legs were due to be played in the week commencing Monday January 21 but there are several complications.
They would therefore be unlikely to want to play just two days later on Tuesday 22.
If either club requested to play the second leg on Thursday 24, their FA Cup involvement the following weekend must be considered because “the FA cannot guarantee scheduling either side on Sunday 27 January if either Tottenham Hotspur or Chelsea draw Newcastle United or Manchester City”.
This is because Newcastle play City in the Premier League live on BT Sport on Tuesday 29 and this cannot be moved.
It means clubs may have to re-arrange their schedules at late notice and does not give fans much time to sort out travel arrangements, especially City supporters travelling to Burton.
For example, Pep Guardiola’s team are scheduled to play Huddersfield on January 20, Burton in mid-week, Newcastle on January 29 and Arsenal on February 3 with a potential FA Cup 4th Round tie on the weekend of January 26/27.