The SPFL today confirmed that the Ladbrokes Premiership winter break will be retained for 2017/18, as it announced key dates for league and Betfred Cup next season.
Top-flight clubs will again enjoy a three-week, mid-season break encompassing two full free weekends from January 1 to January 19 (2018), subject to live TV selections.
Season 2017/18 will kick off with the Betfred Cup group stages commencing on the weekend of July 15 and each of the 40 participating clubs at that stage will play four fixtures across five dates (July 15 / 19 / 22 / 26 / 29). A popular change this season was the return of the Betfred Cup Final to a pre-Christmas slot and this will continue next season with the 2017 final scheduled to be played on Sunday, 26 November.
The big kick-off for 2017/18 Scottish League football across the Ladbrokes Premiership, Championship, League 1 and League 2 will take place on the weekend of Saturday, 5 August, 2017. The final fixtures for the League seasons in Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2 (fixture round 36) will be on the weekend of Saturday, 28 April, 2018 while the Ladbrokes Premiership’s final League matches of season 2017/18 (fixture round 38) will take place on Saturday, 12 May and Sunday 13 May, 2018.
Finally, the Ladbrokes Premiership Play-Off Final first leg is scheduled for Thursday, 17 May, 2018 and the second leg for Sunday, 20 May, 2018 – unless one of the participating teams is also a Scottish Cup finalist, in which case the dates of the Ladbrokes Premiership Play-Off Final will be Tuesday, 15 May and Wednesday, 23 May, in line with this season’s contingency plan.
SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster said: “We’re very pleased to be able to confirm some of the key dates for next season to allow clubs and supporters to plan ahead. The volume of fixturing slots required for international and European football dates continues to represent a great challenge for leagues across Europe, however we have managed to maintain a large degree of consistency for next season in line with the current campaign.
“Following overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding this season’s winter break, most notably during a recent meeting with Ladbrokes Premiership club managers and coaches, we’ve worked to retain this for season 2017/18. We also asked clubs in the Ladbrokes Championship if they would like to see this introduced in their league, however the clear majority of feedback was against this.
“What also proved very popular this season were the improvements made to the Betfred Cup including group stages and an earlier final and those will continue in season 2017/18. The SPFL was supported in delivering these changes and others by member clubs including through our Competitions Working Group and it all demonstrates the ongoing consultation, collaboration and progressive thinking in the Scottish game.”
Group Stage (excludes UEFA participants): 15, 19, 22, 26 and 29 July 2017
Round 2 (entry of UEFA participants): 9 August 2017
Quarter-finals: 19 & 20 September 2017
Semi-finals: 21 & 22 October 2017
Final: 26 November 2017
Ladbrokes SPFL 2017/18
Opening fixtures: Weekend of Saturday 5 August 2017
Ladbrokes Premiership Play-Off Final: Leg 1 on 17 May 2018 and Leg 2 on 20 May 2018 (subject to contingency for a club also in the Scottish Cup Final)
Winter break (Ladbrokes Premiership only): 1 January until 19 January 2018
Ladbrokes Premiership final fixture round: 12 & 13 May 2018
Final fixture round for Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2: 28 April 2018