Chelsea will have to postpone Premier League games against Brighton and Arsenal in February because of the scheduling of the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup.
A potential FA Cup fourth round tie might also have to be rearranged if Chelsea make it to that stage of the competition, which is highly likely.
FIFA have confirmed that the Club World Cup will be played from 3-12 February. Chelsea, as Europe’s representatives after winning the Champions League, will get a bye to the semi-finals, but travelling to the UAE and ensuring adequate rest between games will still have an impact.
The first round will start on 3 February with host club Al Jazira taking on OFC’s nominated representatives Auckland City. A date for the semi-final has not been confirmed as yet, but with the final to be played on 12 February, Chelsea’s first match is likely to be 9 February.
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That means that Premier League games currently scheduled for 8 February and 12 February against Brighton and Arsenal respectively will need to be rearranged.
The FA Cup fourth round is due to take place on the weekend of 5-6 February, which again could have to be moved to allow Chelsea to travel to the FIFA competition.
Playing on 5 February might be feasible if they travelled on 6 February for a game on 9 February, but the rapid turnaround and lack of rest will be far from ideal after already coming through an incredibly congested fixture list in December and February.
Chelsea are yet to win the Club World Cup, finishing as runner-up in their only previous entry in 2012. The Blues lost to Brazilian side Corinthians on that occasion and were actually the last European team not to come away with the trophy.