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The Premier League has confirmed that next season will kick off on 15th August and finish on 9th May - five weeks before the start of the 2010 World Cup.

The season will include a double-header on the Saturday and Monday of the August Bank Holiday for the first time, in order to give England coach Fabio Capello an extra week to prepare his side for the tournament should they qualify.

Under Fifa rules, domestic leagues have to end four weeks before the start of the World Cup finals but the Premier League have agreed to provide an extra week to help England's preparations.

Next season's fixtures will be released no later than 16th June, the Premier League has confirmed.

The decision was taken at last week's meeting of Premier League clubs and although many chairmen were not happy about the August double-header, it was deemed preferable to the other option which was starting the season on 8th August instead of 15th August.

Most chairmen preferred to have a longer pre-season and start the new campaign after the international date on 12th August, when England play Holland in a friendly in Amsterdam.

The FA first negotiated an extra week for the 2006 World Cup after the pleadings of then-manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.,19528,11661_4920290,00.html
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