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By ESPN Staff

SPL agree to postpone 2009-10 season by a week

The Scottish Premier League have agreed to George Burley's request for the start of next season to be postponed until August 15.

Scotland manager Burley had pleaded for the kick-off of the 2009-10 campaign to be put back by a week to give him more time to prepare for the August 12 World Cup qualifier in Norway.

Following talks between SPL secretary Iain Blair and Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith on Thursday, the SPL board today decided to grant Burley's wish.

The board reached their decision despite no guarantee of a sweetener from the SFA, who refused to give a firm commitment to move next season's Homecoming Scottish Cup semi-finals from a weekend to a midweek date.

The SPL said in a statement: "The SPL board today announced that next season will kick off on August 15, 2009.

"This meets George Burley's request, formally made on Wednesday, for a clear weekend ahead of the Norway v Scotland match on August 12.

"Facing a late start and an early end to the season because of the World Cup, we asked the SFA for a firm commitment to move the Scottish Cup semi-finals to a midweek.

"This would have provided certainty in giving a clear weekend to play a round of league matches and helped our teams with European commitments.''

The statement continued: "The SFA told us yesterday that they would meet our request. But, subsequently, this commitment was withdrawn.

"The SPL board met this morning. They were deeply disappointed at the SFA's unwillingness to provide the commitment sought.

"But, given the board's wish to meet the Scotland team manager's request for a free weekend on August 8, they decided the season would now start on August 15.''

Blair said: "Helping the national side was at the forefront of our efforts over the past few days.

"We worked to find a way of accommodating George's request while managing the issues this creates for us and our clubs.

"We are disappointed the SFA were not more willing to work with us in assisting the national side.''

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