Why do Chelsea have an early 5.55pm kick-off in the Europa League tonight?

The Europa League gets under way tonight.

London duo Arsenal and Chelsea get their European campaigns up and running, with the Blues out in Greece to play PAOK Salonika and Arsenal hosting FC Vorskla Poltava.

The two sides will fancy their chances of going all the way this season and earning a spot back in the Champions League for next year.

But there are some new rules in European competition this year, notably when games will kick off.

And Chelsea fans need to take note and get out of work as quickly as they can this evening if they want to watch the game on television.

The new Europa League kick-off times
Chelsea supporters who have not travelled out to Greece for the clash will have to leave work early to ensure they get home in time for kick-off because of changes to the rules of this year’s competition, implemented by UEFA.

Gone is the traditional split of half the games on Thursday kicking off at 6pm and the other half getting started at 8.05pm.

Why? Because UEFA hope the change will help boost international viewing figures resulting in increased revenue due to more games being broadcast on television.

The new kick-off times in the UEFA Europa League are as follows:

UEFA Europa League matches from the group stage until round of 16 matches will kick off at 6.55pm CET (5.55pm UK) and 9pm CET (8pm UK).
The kick-off times will be decided in accordance with the draw. In principle, games within a group will be played simultaneously on the last matchday.
The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will all kick off at 21:00CET. Exceptions can be made by the UEFA administration.

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