Premier League arrange fixtures so 'Big Six' don't meet on first or last weekend of season

The shock scheduling agreement has been in place for a number of years without being revealed to fans.

The Times claims Premier League sources decided to go ahead with the plans in order to ensure maximum numbers at stadiums while remaining attractive to broadcasters.

This is because opening day tends to attract smaller viewing figures as some supporters are still on holiday.

While a top six clash on the final day could detract from the other fixtures going on.

Liverpool and Arsenal did face off on the opening weekend of last season – but the Merseysiders had finished eighth the previous campaign.

However, critics believe the arrangement gives the top teams special treatment, especially considering their claims to more overseas television money.

The information came to light in the Premier League’s document for broadcasters between 2019 and 2022.

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But there were harsh words from The Football Supporters’ Federation, with chief executive Kevin Miles saying: “This is certainly news to us and we look forward to holding discussions with the Premier League about the pros and cons of it.”

While Arsenal Supporters’ Trust added: “Every Premier League club should be treated equally, and we do not agree with this push for them to receive a bigger share of television money.

“The AST would like the focus of the schedule to be on organising fixtures and kick-off times that are convenient for fans who go to matches, rather than what best suits domestic or overseas TV viewers.”

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