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FA Cup final set to avoid clash with league games

Updated: February 02, 2012, 14:27

LONDON(AP) The FA Cup final is unlikely to be played on the same day as any Premier League matches after all 20 clubs agreed to shift their fixtures to the following day.

Last May, for the first time in 50 years, the final was played on the same day as a topflight league program because the Champions League final was held at Wembley Stadium later in the month.

But the 20 club executives agreed Thursday to move their fixtures from Saturday, May 5, to the following day to avoid overshadowing the cup final, which will be pushed back 2 hours, 15 minutes to start at 5:15 p.m.

"We realize that it is not good for either competition to have our matches conflicting with the FA Cup,'' Premier League communications director Dan Johnson said.

British broadcaster Sky TV, however, could enforce its contractual right to show a Saturday lunchtime league match. Also, an English club may change its mind about not playing on May 5 if it is involved in the Europa League final the following Wednesday.

It was also confirmed at Thursday's meeting that next season's Premier League will kick off on Aug. 18, six days after the end of the London Olympics.

The traditional English season-opener, the Community Shield, is set to be played in its usual slot on the Sunday before the Premier League starts despite falling on the same day as the Olympics closing ceremony.

However, the match between the Premier League champion and FA Cup winner will be played outside of London rather than at Wembley Stadium.

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