Sunderland's 2020/21 fixture release date confirmed - as the EFL reveal some big changes to the League One calendar
Sunderland’s 2020/21 fixtures will be released at 9am on Friday, August 21 – the EFL have confirmed.
The Black Cats haven’t kicked a ball in anger since March 10 after the third tier season was curtailed, but will discover their League One schedule next week.
And Sunderland will also discover who they will be facing in the first round of the Carabao Cup next week – with that draw scheduled for Tuesday, August 18.
In a statement released today, the EFL confirmed that the opening round of the cup competition will be the curtain-raiser for the new season with ties scheduled to take place on September 5.
The next three rounds of the competition will then be played on three consecutive weeks in a bid to blitz through the cup schedule early on in the season.
And in a further twist to the usual start to the season, Sunderland will also start their EFL Trophy (formerly Leasing.com Trophy) campaign before League One kicks-off – with the first group games scheduled for the week of September 8/9.
The draw for this competition will also take place on August 18, at 1:30pm, and will be broadcast on talkSPORT2.
It has also been confirmed that the Black Cats will have to play as many as 11 midweek fixtures this season – a notable rise from previous campaigns.
The EFL statement read: “The 2020/21 season dates across the Sky Bet EFL, Carabao Cup and the EFL Trophy have been confirmed, with the Carabao Cup officially kicking off the EFL season with an action-packed month of cup football to follow throughout September.
"The 2020/21 [Carabao Cup] competition has seen a number of significant scheduling changes with two legged semi-finals being replaced by a single tie and the first four rounds scheduled to take place on consecutive weeks, kicking off in early September.
“Round One fixtures are scheduled to take place on Saturday 5 September, but due to the international window may be played on alternative dates. Rounds Two, Three and Four will be played on consecutive midweeks dates starting 15/16 September.
"As per the previous two seasons, the Round One draw will be divided into a northern and southern section but will remain unseeded.
"As previously advised, League competition in the Sky Bet EFL will kick-off on Saturday 12 September, while the regular seasons in the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two will conclude on 8/9 May 2021.
“Due to the unprecedented challenges facing the fixture calendar as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and starting six weeks later than usual, the Sky Bet EFL Championship will feature 13 midweek match rounds whilst League One and League Two will have 11 respectively throughout season 2020/21.
"The EFL Trophy will officially get underway in Matchday One during week commencing 7 September, and culminating at Wembley Stadium for the Final on Sunday 14 March 2021.
“The competition format remains unchanged, however, the title sponsorship with Leasing.com has come to an end so the competition will revert back to the EFL Trophy.”