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Premier League rules out schedule changes for Champions League clubs

The Premier League will not reschedule games for clubs competing in the UEFA Champions League despite previous complaints from the likes of Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger.

In some European leagues, clubs involved in either the Champions League or UEFA Europa League can have domestic fixtures pushed forward or back to accommodate their extra exertions mid-week.

But the Premier League have generally avoided providing similar relief and will continue to do so, according to chief executive Richard Scudamore.

While England’s UEFA coefficient – the ranking that determines how many spots each league receives in both European club competitions – has declined, dropping them below Germany into third, Scudamore reckons the logistics involved in rescheduling matches is too difficult.

“Yes, there is a concern,” Scudamore told The Guardian, when asked about the coefficient.

“One, on a practical basis, as if we keep declining it’s bad for our coefficient and we’ll lose one of our Champions League places. We have to be careful.

“It’s a concern but it’s difficult to see what we can do about it centrally as the clubs are trying hard enough to win.

“From 2016-17 we are playing some games on Friday nights but we won’t move individual fixtures as you can’t do it for everybody. Champions League teams play on a Tuesday and a Wednesday so you can’t move matches just to suit one team. It completely ruins everything you do.

“The entire fixture calendar in the UK is predicated upon clubs having a three-day gap, so you can’t bring games forward to a Friday. Maybe because there’s normally something going on the previous Wednesday. We’ve looked at it but it’s practically impossible to do anything.”

Scudamore also played down the issue for the clubs that regularly compete in the Champions League such as Chelsea and Arsenal, although he conceded two games a week can be tough for those in the Europa League.

“It’s slightly different in the Europa League, I think,” he said.

“The clubs that are in the Champions League are big enough and have squads geared to play that midweek-weekend cycle. It’s a different issue when a team like Stoke or Everton, who don’t have vast squads, suddenly have to cope with playing in the Europa League and the Premier League.”

Thu 30 Jul, 2015
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