Fixtures moved to avoid clash with FA Cup final

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The Independent Football

The FA Cup final has avoided a direct clash with the penultimate round of Barclays Premier League fixtures after they were all moved today to accommodate the Wembley showpiece.

The cup final, which traditionally takes place at the end of the top-flight season, was in danger of being completely overshadowed by a round of Premier League matches on the same weekend.

But that has been mitigated somewhat after the Premier League acted to ensure only three or four of the scheduled eight or nine games would be played on Saturday, May 14.

Those matches will all kick off at 12.45pm, with the cup final itself scheduled to kick off at its traditional time of 3pm.

Two of the four semi-finalists - Manchester United, Manchester City, Bolton and Stoke - will see their Premier League fixtures postponed if they reach the final.

City and Stoke are due to meet that weekend, meaning only their match will be rearranged if they both reach the final.

Any other combination of finalists would see two matches postponed, with all four semi-finalists currently slated to play at 12.45pm on Saturday.

Five games were moved to the Sunday, with most kicking-off at 4pm.

It is understood the Premier League had planned to avoid a clash with the cup final as soon as this season's fixtures were announced.

The FA Cup final cannot be played any later than May 14 this season as UEFA rules require Wembley must not be used for two weeks prior to the May 28 Champions League final.

FA Cup final weekend Premier League fixtures:

Saturday, May 14 (kick-off 12.45pm):

Blackburn v Man Utd*, Blackpool v Bolton*, Man City v Stoke*, Sunderland v Wolverhampton, West Brom v Everton.

Sunday, May (kick-off 4pm unless stated):

Chelsea v Newcastle (1.30pm), Arsenal v Aston Villa, Birmingham v Fulham, Liverpool v Tottenham, Wigan v West Ham.

* Will be postponed if teams involved reach FA Cup final.

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