La Liga President Javier Tebas has confirmed a major change in kickoff times for the upcoming 2016-17 season. The league is eliminating the 22:00 local time kickoff (4:00pm ET) on Saturday’s and introducing a new 13:00 local time Saturday match (7:00am ET). Heads of La Liga are open about the reason for the new Saturday kickoff time, dubbed ‘horario ingles’ as its intended to compete directly with the Premier League in the Far East television market.
The 2016-17 season will now have the following kickoff times (local):
- Friday – 21:00 (3pm ET)
- Saturday – 13:00 (7am ET), 16:00 (10am ET), 18:15 (12:15pm ET), 20:30 (2:30pm ET).
- Sunday – 12:00 (6am ET), 16:00 (10am ET), 18:15 (12:15pm ET), 20:30 (2:30pm ET).
- Monday – 20:30 (2:30pm ET).
The current policy calls for 24 matches to be played this season at 13:00 local time (7am ET) Saturday. When asked if Real Madrid or Barcelona will feature during this time, President Tebas said: “No. You have to give television time to teams like Valencia, Sevilla, Atletico and Villarreal because if you don’t it only grows a few clubs.” Also, on matchdays when Friday or Monday matches are not scheduled, there will be 2 matches at 18:15 (12:15pm ET) on either Saturday or Sunday. The new schedule will take effect starting with the 3rd round of matches played between September 10-13, 2016.
World Soccer Talk’s initial report about the opening weekend schedule of the new La Liga season was incorrect. While it’s true that the opening weekend of the season features a schedule where only one of the 10 games overlaps with another La Liga match, La Liga doesn’t intend to keep a similar schedule throughout the season.
In related news, La Liga is currently negotiating with the Spanish FA (RFEF) on restructuring the domestic Cup competition – Copa del Rey – in order to avoid fixture congestion for the top level teams.
Ed Perovic is the publisher of soccertvblog.com – a source for schedules and US TV information for major European Leagues and International competitions.
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