Belfast Telegraph

Magpies given hope of fixture relief

Newcastle could yet avoid a fixture pile-up at the start of the new campaign after it emerged that they may have to play twice in less than 48 hours.

The first leg of the Magpies' Europa League play-off tie is scheduled for Thursday, August 23 - two days before a televised Barclays Premier League trip to Chelsea which will kick off at 5.30pm and be screened live by ESPN.

They first asked for the league game to be moved back 24 hours, but were refused permission by the Metropolitan Police with the Notting Hill Carnival due to get underway the same day. However UEFA have said the Europa League qualifier could be rearranged if both Newcastle's opponents and the two national associations agree to a switch.

A UEFA spokesman told Press Association Sport: "In principle, UEFA is not in a position to change the requested fixture from Thursday to Wednesday or Tuesday.

"However, after the draw ceremony for the play-offs, if the opponent agrees to re-schedule the match date to the Tuesday, August 21 before 1830 CET, the UEFA Administration will be open to consider the request.

"Written approval is required from the opponent club as well as the respective national associations of both teams.

"Please note that should Newcastle United FC be drawn to play the match on August 23 and the opponent does not agree to change the match date, the match will be maintained as such."

Newcastle outlined the situation as they confirmed a list of six league fixtures to be screened live between the start of the season and the end of November.

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