Arsenal confident of avoiding PSV forfeit as talks over new date continue

Thursday’s game at Emirates Stadium was called off as some of the biggest matches in London this week were wiped out ahead of the Queen’s state funeral on Monday.

The postponement has left Arsenal with a headache because there is no available date in the calendar to play the game before the group stage is due to end in November, before the World Cup.

Under UEFA regulations, Arsenal must find a new date to stage the PSV fixture or forfeit the game, as was the case with Tottenham in the Europa Conference League last season.

Spurs called off a game against Rennes following a Covid outbreak in their squad and the French side were awarded a 3-0 win because they were unable to find a new date.

But Arsenal are confident they can find a solution and talks are ongoing with the relevant authorities over the matter.

The two most likely options for Arsenal are rearranging their Premier League game with Manchester City on October 19 or their Carabao Cup third-round tie against Brighton, which is due to take place during the week commencing November 7, to accommodate the PSV game.

Every other midweek between now and the start of the World Cup is already filled.

The responsibility to find a new date falls on Arsenal as the home team, but UEFA will do everything to accommodate them, with the possibility of the Gunners playing PSV in January not ruled out.

Arsenal are understood to have tried everything to get the game played, but it was postponed following talks with UEFA and the Met Police.

Clubs already had a packed fixture schedule this season due to the World Cup, but last weekend’s unexpected break and yesterday’s new postponements have created further headaches.

Chelsea’s Champions League match against RB Salzburg at Stamford Bridge, which will be Graham Potter’s first game in charge, will go ahead tomorrow, but their clash with Liverpool on Sunday has been called off.

Manchester United’s game against Leeds on Sunday has also been postponed as police are being redeployed to work on the build-up to Monday’s funeral, which has been declared a bank holiday. Both matches are category A matches, which means they require a large police presence.

The Premier League said they had no choice but to postpone the games. A Premier League statement read: “Following extensive consultation with clubs, police, local Safety Advisory Groups and other relevant authorities, there was no other option but to postpone the fixtures.”

Tottenham’s match at home to Leicester on Saturday is still taking place and Arsenal remain in action against Brentford on Sunday, but the game will now kick off at midday as opposed to 2pm.

Finding dates for postponed games will prove problematic in a packed calendar and the prospect of scrapping replays in the third and fourth round of the FA Cup is under consideration.

Replays were ditched in each of the last two seasons and that plan is now being considered again as a way to ease any fixture backlogs.

The Women’s Super League season will kick off this weekend after all fixtures were postponed last weekend as English football stopped as a mark of respect to the Queen.

Those games need be rearranged and clubs are thinking carefully about when to play them, as a number of matches, including Tottenham v Manchester United and Chelsea v West Ham, were due to take place in the men’s teams’ stadiums in front of bigger crowds.

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