In Depth

2020-21 English football season: Premier League, EFL and cup key dates

Everything you need to know about the men’s football calendar

The fixtures for the 2020-21 Premier League season have been released and the opening weekend will see champions Liverpool host Championship winners Leeds United at Anfield.

In other games Fulham play at home against Arsenal while West Bromwich Albion host Leicester City at the Hawthorns.    

The Burnley vs. Manchester United and Manchester City vs. Aston Villa opening weekend fixtures are postponed due to the Manchester clubs’ involvement in the Europa League and Champions League respectively. 

For the full season fixture list see

Premier League matchweek one - Saturday 12 September (3pm)
  • Crystal Palace vs. Southampton  
  • Fulham vs. Arsenal  
  • Liverpool vs. Leeds Utd  
  • Tottenham vs. Everton  
  • West Brom vs. Leicester City  
  • West Ham vs. Newcastle Utd 
Monday 14 September (8pm)
  • Brighton vs. Chelsea  
  • Sheffield Utd vs. Wolves
Date to be confirmed
  • Burnley vs. Man Utd
  • Man City vs. Aston Villa

Here we look at the key dates and details for the Premier League, English Football League (EFL), FA Cup and Carabao Cup in 2020-21. 

Premier League

The 2020-21 Premier League season will kick off with matchday one on Saturday 12 September and the season will end on Sunday 23 May. A total of 380 matches will be played.

BBC Sport reports that the Premier League has scrapped the winter break because of the congested 2020-21 schedule.

The new season will be five weeks shorter than normal because of the late end of the 2019-20 campaign and the European Championships which are rescheduled for next summer. 

Transfer window

After opening on 27 July the summer transfer window will close at 11pm on Monday 5 October.

The EFL has announced that an agreement is in place with the Premier League for an extended two-week domestic-only window which will close at 5pm on Friday 16 October. During this extended window Premier League clubs will only be able to trade with EFL clubs.

Community Shield double header 

Premier League champions Liverpool take on FA Cup winners Arsenal in the 2020 Community Shield. The traditional season curtain-raiser will be held behind closed doors at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 29 August. Kick-off is at 4.30pm (BST) and the game will be broadcast live on BT Sport. 

A Community Shield double header at Wembley will see Women’s Super League champions Chelsea play Women’s FA Cup holders Manchester City at 12.30pm on 29 August (live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer). 

Carabao Cup

The draw for the first round of the Carabao Cup has been made with teams split into north and south to limit travel requirements, talkSPORT reports. 

Ties will be played on Saturday 5 September, but Sky Sports says some games could be moved due to potential clashes with international matches.

The EFL has confirmed that the usual two legged semi-finals will be replaced by a single tie and the first four rounds are scheduled to take place on consecutive weeks in early September. 

Premier League sides will enter the competition in round two or round three if they are competing in European competition in season 2020/21. Wembley Stadium will host the 2021 Carabao Cup final on 28 February.

Carabao Cup first-round draw - northern section 
  • Tranmere vs. Harrogate  
  • Crewe vs. Lincoln  
  • Walsall vs. Sheffield Wednesday  
  • Rochdale vs. Huddersfield  
  • Preston vs. Mansfield  
  • Bolton vs. Bradford  
  • Blackburn vs. Doncaster  
  • Stoke vs. Blackpool  
  • Fleetwood vs. Wigan  
  • Grimsby vs. Morecambe  
  • Middlesbrough vs. Shrewsbury 
  • Derby vs. Barrow  
  • Scunthorpe vs. Port Vale  
  • Sunderland vs. Hull  
  • Burton vs. Accrington  
  • Salford vs. Rotherham  
  • Barnsley vs. Nottingham Forest  
  • Oldham vs. Carlisle 
Southern section 
  • Bristol City vs. Exeter  
  • Plymouth vs. QPR  
  • Swindon vs. Charlton  
  • Forest Green vs. Leyton Orient  
  • MK Dons vs. Coventry  
  • Crawley vs. Millwall  
  • Stevenage vs. Portsmouth  
  • Peterborough vs. Cheltenham  
  • Brentford vs. Wycombe  
  • Northampton vs. Cardiff  
  • Luton vs. Norwich  
  • Birmingham vs. Cambridge  
  • Newport vs. Swansea  
  • Oxford vs. AFC Wimbledon  
  • Reading vs. Colchester  
  • Gillingham vs. Southend  
  • Ipswich vs. Bristol Rovers
Carabao Cup key dates
  • Round one: 5 September (alternative dates may apply) 
  • Round two: 15-16 September  
  • Round three: 22-23 September  
  • Round four: 29-30 September  
  • Round five: 22-23 December  
  • Semi-finals: 5-6 January  
  • Final: 28 February  

English Football League (EFL)

Starting six weeks later than usual, the opening weekend of the Sky Bet EFL will be on 12 September. Fixtures are released on Friday 21 August at 9am.

The regular campaigns for the Championship, League One and League Two will conclude on 8-9 May 2021 and the play-off finals will be held at Wembley over the spring bank holiday weekend of 29-31 May 2021. 

Due to the tight schedule of the season there will be 13 midweek match rounds for the Championship and 11 for Leagues One and Two.

EFL key dates
  • 21 August: fixtures are released 
  • 12 September: season starts 
  • 8-9 May: regular season ends  
  • 29-31 May: play-off finals at Wembley 
The Emirates FA Cup trophy

FA Cup

The big format change to this season’s FA Cup will be the scrapping of replays. Extra preliminary round games will be played on 1 September and the final at Wembley Stadium will be on Saturday 15 May. 

FA Cup key dates
  • Extra preliminary round: Tuesday 1 September  
  • Preliminary round: Saturday 12 September  
  • First round qualifying: Tuesday 22 September  
  • Second round qualifying: Saturday 3 October  
  • Third round qualifying: Tuesday 13 October  
  • Fourth round qualifying: Saturday 24 October  
  • First round proper: Saturday 7 November  
  • Second round proper: Saturday 28 November  
  • Third round proper: Saturday 9 January  
  • Fourth round proper: Saturday 23 January  
  • Fifth round proper: Wednesday 10 February  
  • Quarter-finals: Saturday 20 March  
  • Semi-finals: Saturday 17 April 
  • 2021 FA Cup final: Saturday 15 May 

2020-21 Uefa Champions League

Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United have qualified for the group stage of the Champions League. 

  • 18-19 August: first qualifying round  
  • 25-26 August: second qualifying round  
  • 15-16 September: third qualifying round  
  • 22-23 and 29-30 September: play-offs  
  • 20-21 October: group stage matchday one  
  • 27-28 October: group stage matchday two  
  • 3-4 November: group stage matchday three  
  • 24-25 November: group stage matchday four  
  • 1-2 December: group stage matchday five  
  • 8-9 December: group stage matchday six  
  • 16-17 February 2021: round of 16  
  • 6 and 14 April: quarter-finals  
  • 17 April and 5 May: semi-finals  
  • 29 May: 2021 Champions League final

2020-21 Uefa Europa League 

Leicester City and Arsenal have both qualified for the group stage of the Europa League, which starts on 22 October. Tottenham start their European campaign in the second qualifying round on 17 September.  

  • 20 August: preliminary round  
  • 27 August: first qualifying round  
  • 17 September: second qualifying round  
  • 24 September: third qualifying round  
  • 1 October: play-offs  
  • 22 October: group stage matchday one  
  • 29 October: group stage matchday two  
  • 5 November: group stage matchday three  
  • 26 November: Group stage matchday four  
  • 3 December: group stage matchday five  
  • 10 December: group stage matchday six  
  • 18 and 25 February 2021: round of 32  
  • 11 and 18 March: round of 16 
  • 8 and 15 April: quarter-finals  
  • 29 April and 6 May: semi-finals  
  • 26 May: 2021 Europa League final

Other key football dates for the 2020-21 season

  • 24 September 2020: Uefa Super Cup at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary 
  • 3 October 2020: expected start date for the National League 
  • 8 October 2020: Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals  
  • 12 November 2020: Euro 2020 play-off finals  
  • 11 June to 11 July 2021: Euro 2020


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