Arsenal's Arsène Wenger Rails Against TV Influence On Fixtures Schedule
Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger "has called for the introduction of an ethics committee to arbitrate on the fairness of fixture scheduling as he railed against Arsenal's treatment in the buildup to a defining week," according to David Hytner of the London GUARDIAN. Arsenal faced Everton at 4pm local time on Sunday and traveled to Man City for a 12:45pm kickoff on Saturday, the "tightest turnaround from one weekend to the next." The problem, however, is that Arsenal must visit Napoli on Wednesday for its final Champions League Group F match, with its progress in the competition "not certain." His ire, though, "was directed at the television companies that, he says, have total control over when the Premier League's matches are played." It "was implicit in his criticism that he felt the football authorities lacked the strength to stand up to them, hence his demand for independent outside help." Wenger: "It is a fact the way football is sold that every television [station] has its own rights. They don't care when you have already played. They think: 'Is it a nice time to play on Saturday morning this game between Arsenal and Man City? OK.' They don't look to see if we played on Wednesday. The way football is sold does not protect you" (GUARDIAN, 12/7). In London, Alec Shilton reported Wenger said that the Premier League "should look at the flexibility granted by the Bundesliga to aid the success of their clubs in European competitions." Prior to Arsenal’s visit to Borussia Dortmund in at the beginning of November, the German club "were allowed to move their match against Stuttgart forward from Saturday to Friday in order to give their players an extra day to recoup" (TELEGRAPH, 12/7).