Saturday 18 November 2017

Far right EDL forces Manchester United to play first Premier League game on Friday night

Ciaran Clark tackles Robin van Persie during United's clash at Villa

Manchester United have been forced to move their game with Aston Villa at Villa Park to a Friday night due to a march by a far-right organisation.

West Midlands Police requested the match between United and Villa be moved to Friday August 14 because of an English Defence League march, which is due to take place in Birmingham on the Saturday.

The match, due to be broadcast by Sky Sports at 7.45pm, is likely to be the only Friday night game this season. From 2016-17, up to 10 Friday night matches will be broadcast under the new TV agreement.

A statement from the Premier League said: "A Saturday 5:30pm kick-off was initially suggested for this match and West Midlands Police confirmed that, under normal circumstances, that would be acceptable.

"However, due to a planned English Defence League march that will take place in the region on Saturday 15 August, and will require police resource, they requested that the Premier League consider avoiding scheduling the match on that date.

"Manchester United’s participation in the UEFA Champions League, and a potential European match the following Tuesday, means that a Sunday slot could not be scheduled with any certainty."

The English Defence League have forced United to bring forward their game at Aston Villa
The English Defence League have forced United to bring forward their game at Aston Villa

Sky's first game of the season will see the Premier League champions Chelsea take on Swansea: Manchester City's clash with Jose Mourinho's side is also live on the channel on Aug 16.

BT will show the first game of the season - Manchester United v Tottenham - on August 8 with a 12.45pm kick-off.

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