Blackpool reverse opening fixture

Blackpool will now begin their first Barclays Premier League campaign away after Wigan agreed to reverse the venue for their opening fixture.

The Premier League announced the change had been made to remove the possibility Bloomfield Road might not be ready for the start of the new campaign on August 14.

The promoted Tangerines are undertaking a series of ground improvements to ready the stadium for its first season of top-flight football since 1971. Blackpool will therefore now begin the season with two away games, against Wigan and Arsenal, before their first home game against Fulham on August 28.

The game due to be played at Wigan’s DW Stadium on April 16 next year will now take place at Bloomfield Road.

A Premier League statement read: “The board felt it was important to take this decision as early as possible if there was any potential for Blackpool FC’s stadium not being ready for the first match of the season.

“This is the only Blackpool FC fixture that will be affected and this decision will give both clubs and their supporters maximum time to plan accordingly.”

The change of venue for the first game could mean a quick turnaround for DW Stadium staff, with Wigan Warriors due to play in the Engage Super League the previous evening, August 13.

The statement added: “The board would like to put on record its thanks to both Wigan Athletic FC and Wigan RL, whose flexibility in the circumstances has been extremely helpful.”

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