Chelsea, Everton Finally Clear Up Carabao Cup Scheduling Issues

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Football is supposed to be about … well, the football, and the fans, but we know all too well that, certainly at the very top level, it’s mostly about money and television. Those four competing interests have been coming to a head over the Carabao Cup third round ties for Liverpool (vs. Chelsea) and Everton (vs. Southampton) ever since the draw was made.

The trouble began with the (unseeded) draw itself producing home ties for both Liverpool and Everton, which by rule (and logistics) cannot be played on the same day. Normally, this would be resolved by one team playing on Tuesday, the other on Wednesday — League Cup third round ties are played midweek.

Chelsea

However, both Everton and Chelsea had already been picked for broadcast TV coverage by Sky for the preceding Sunday (Everton away at Arsenal; Chelsea away at West Ham United). Given the untold billions Sky have sunk into the Premier League, they are the ultimate arbiters of the league schedule when they pick (and move) the games they want to show on television (since the Saturday 3pm matches are, by law, not shown in the UK).

While technically teams are allowed to play matches on just one-day’s rest — Chelsea have done that a few times in recent seasons — avoiding that is the one thing everyone can agree on, even if teams are expected to rotate for this competition.

Fortunately, after a few days of negotiations, a solution has been found, with the League Cup allowing one of the affected ties to be playing the following week instead. Since both Chelsea and Liverpool are in Europe that week (Liverpool play Napoli away in the Champions League; Chelsea host the team formerly known as Videoton in the Europa League), it’s Everton and Southampton who will have to play their game in the first week of October instead of the last week of September.

So, the Liverpool vs. Chelsea Carabao Cup match will take place on Wednesday, September 26 (with a rematch in the Premier League following on the weekend), while the Everton vs. Southampton match will take place on Tuesday, October 2.

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