Ferguson: Manchester United disadvantaged in Europe by TV demands
Sir Alex Ferguson is furious with the unfair scheduling of Manchester United’s televised game against Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday and hits out at Premier League for failing to make sacrifices for their top teams.
The Manchester United manager insisted that the demands of live television of the English domestic fixture list is jeopardising the chances of success for the teams that are participating in Europe. The Scotsman is particularly unhappy with the fact that his team will face La Liga giants Real Madrid in the Champions League in the Spanish capital on Wednesday, only three days after their domestic fixture and has hinted of a radical squad rotation.
Despite the fact that United have a nine-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League table, Ferguson, who was fined £12,000 by the FA for criticising Simon Beck, the assistant referee during United’s league match away to Tottenham Hotspur last month, feels that he is left with no other options rather to field two different sets of teams against both the oppositions.
Ferguson said as quoted in the press:
“It’s pointless complaining about these things all the time — there’s no fairness at all. It’s ridiculous to think that we play on the Sunday and Real Madrid play on the Saturday with that extra day’s rest.
“Other countries in Europe make sacrifices for their top teams in Europe. The team on Sunday will not be the team that plays on Wednesday.”
Real Madrid on the other hand was supposed to play Seville at the Bernabeu on Sunday but their fixture has been moved back 24 hours earlier, to give them an extra day’s time to prepare for their European tie. In fact, it is a common practice among others European nations like Spain, Germany, Italy and France where the teams taking part in Europe are given extra time to prepare.
Under the new agreement with Sky, to which all clubs sign up, they must accept the dates assigned to them, though in earlier days rescheduling of the matches was still possible in England.
United had suffered in the past adjusting to this gruelling fixtures borne out of television demands. In April 2008, they faced Barcelona in the first leg of a Champions League semi-final at the Nou Camp and lost 2-1 to Chelsea in the Saturday lunch time kick off getting hardly any time to prepare for the match.