Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hit out at the decision to bring the new Premier League season forward by a week, claiming his side have insufficient time to recover.
England’s top flight is scheduled to return on August 8, while Arsenal – whose current campaign ends with the FA Cup final against Aston Villa on Saturday – could be back in action for the Community Shield six days earlier should they triumph at Wembley this weekend.
“Moving the fixture calendar forward deeply affects pre-season and I believe it is the wrong decision of the Premier League to start on August 8,” he said.
“The players have played the  World Cup, then you have no winter break, you come out [of the Premier League season] and when you reach the FA Cup final, you play on May 30, then the European players who are called up by their international teams play until June 14, then you start [the new season] on August 8.
“If you count six weeks’ preparation, where is the time for recovery?
“As a manager, you usually have a bit of time to relax after the season when there is no international competition, but this year we finish at the end of May and start again at the end of June.
“It takes you two weeks to just get out of the heat of the Premier League and then you have to prepare again.”
Wenger’s main concern is for the fitness of Alexis Sanchez, who heads home to Chile following the cup final to take part in the Copa America.
“I feel this competition is a bit too much,” he added. “I will watch it, but with a little bit of fear because Sanchez has played 50 games for us and goes there again, having already played in the World Cup last summer.
“I am really surprised that FIFA authorised that.
“It is disappointing that they speak a lot about the health of the players, but when you look at the competition that is organised, this Copa America, and look at the date of the start of the Premier League, it is not reasonable.”