Frank Lampard says the Premier League’s scheduled September 12 start date for next season is ‘too early’ and warned that ‘players need a break’ before heading into the new campaign.
The rescheduled Premier League season reached its conclusion on July 27 after the campaign was played into the summer months amid the coronavirus pandemic, though those remaining in European competition are set to conclude their respective Champions League and Europa League campaigns over a two week period beginning later this week.
UEFA have announced that the Champions League final will be held on August 23, whilst the Europa League will conclude two days earlier with the showpieces scheduled to take place in Lisbon and Cologne.
Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolves remain in contention to reach either of those finals and the Premier League have discussed plans for a delayed start to the new season for those sides, with talks over a minimum of 30 days rest for teams in continental competition.
That period, however, still offers only limited time for rest, recovery and a mini ‘pre-season’ ahead of the new campaign and Chelsea boss Lampard believes the break is not long enough to return in peak condition.
“I am guessing we will be told when we start and that will be dependent on how we will go against Bayern Munich,” Lampard said.
“It is not ideal if we carry on against Bayern – the players need to be given a break to play at the level and the quality product that the Premier League is.
Brace yourselves. I've drawn up a calendar for the 2020-21 Premier League season to see just how everything is going to fit together.
This is based on:
– No FA Cup replays
– No "winter break"
– One-legged Carabao Cup SF
Explanation follows. There's not one "spare" date. pic.twitter.com/rPoEBWpmpl
— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) July 28, 2020
“Even in a worst-case scenario, we don’t go through against Bayern, the 12th feels too early for me for the players to start playing again.
“The players need a break. That is why we have pulled two hamstrings and had players pull out of the game before this.”
Any additional rest is unlikely to be granted given the Premier League’s need to finish next season in May ahead of next summer’s European Championships, whilst there is also the additional complication of an international break before the new season is due to get underway, including a round of UEFA Nations League fixtures scheduled just four days before the Premier League’s start date.
Despite the limited space for manoeuvre in the fixture calendar, Lampard is hopeful the league’s authorities strongly consider further rest period for sides remaining in Europe to ensure a level playing field heading into next season.
“I would like to think the Premier League would look seriously at that,” he added.
“Hopefully they give us a fair start next season. We deserve to be [given a fair start] as a Premier League club competing in the Champions League.”
Chelsea resume their Champions League campaign when they face Bayern Munich in the second leg of their last-16 tie on Saturday, the west London outfit needing to overturn a 3-0 deficit heading into their clash in Bavaria this weekend.
Elsewhere Manchester City meet Real Madrid at the Etihad on Friday night and hold a 2-1 lead from their first leg in Spain, whilst this week’s Europa League fixtures see Manchester United hold a 5-0 advantage of LASK and Wolves meet Olympiakos at Molineux with their tie finely poised at 1-1.