PREMIER LEAGUE clubs will be barred from arranging lucrative friendlies around the globe when their mid-season breaks are revealed today.
The fixtures for the new season are announced at 9am on Thursday – and for the first time teams in the top flight will be handed a week off during the season.
3 Arsenal took on Al Nasr of the UAE in a friendly in MarchCredit: Reuters
3 Chelsea travelled to the United States for a friendly with New England Revolution in May – but Ruben Loftus-Cheek picked up an injuryCredit: Getty – Contributor
One matchweek, likely to be early February, will be split in half with five being contested over one weekend and the remaining five taking place a week later.
That allows every Premier League side the freedom to take a step off the treadmill of fixtures at that time of year, which also includes FA Cup ties and upcoming European games.
Yet that has also raised to potential for some of the biggest clubs to arrange to take part in prestige friendlies with other sides in overseas places as part of a commercial exercise.
But the marketing and commercial directors at Premier League sides are likely to be disappointed – because individual clubs do not have the final say on whether a friendly can be played.
Instead, the Football Association have the authority to sanction or deny any requests to play overseas.
And given that the FA were so strongly behind the midweek break in the first place, they will take a dim view of any requests dropping in their inbox over the next few months.