Out of control! Furious Wenger rages at rivals' 'influence' on television games
Arsene Wenger has sensationally accused rival Barclays Premier League clubs of influencing television stations to doctor the fixture list.
The Arsenal manager insisted it was wrong that some sides can lean on broadcasters to arrange televised matches to suit themselves.
Wenger believes the current system, whereby television channels take their pick from a match list organised by the Premier League, provides an unfair advantage to some clubs, who can enjoy more recovery time between games.
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The Frenchman said: 'I believe the
Premier League have to make sure there's a bit more fairness in the
schedules. I don't believe the Premier League have played, in the last
months or the last year, a very fair role in the distribution of the
fixtures. They are sold to television and television is influenced by
some clubs to choose the fixtures. And some clubs get advantaged by
television, if it's Sky or ESPN, because they have an influence from the
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'If the Premier League don't
decide, it is the television that decides. That means television can be
influenced and the Premier League have nothing to say. That's what I
think is not right.
'If, tomorrow, you buy a club and
your best friend is the owner of Sky TV you don't think you will tell
him, “Look, you put us on Friday night. That's not fair.”
'Or, “You put us on Sunday night, that's not fair.” Temptation Of course it is.
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'I do not want to go personally on any one club, but if things are repeated then it's not a coincidence any more.
'I'm not the only manager who thinks that. There's a real problem there.'
Wenger, who did not name specific
clubs who seek to secure an advantage, also accused the Premier League
of lacking control over their fixtures, arguing television channels
dictate who plays when.
UK broadcasters alone paid 1.782billion to show 138 live top-flight matches between 2010 and 2013.
Wenger added: 'The contracts are done
in a way that's not right for the fairness of the competition. You
cannot have decisive games with one team playing Friday and Tuesday and
another on Sunday on Tuesday.
'The Premier League (should) decide what is fair and what is not fair. At the moment, they don't. Television decides.
'We have sold our soul and we do
not control our games, our fixtures, any more. But it is the truth. I
cannot say that the television is wrong, but it's not normal that they
can have a direct influence on the schedule. The Premier League should
be in complete control of the Premier League.'
Last April Wenger said he believed
his side were the victims of a conspiracy that gave Manchester United an
advantage in the title race. He was upset that many of his club's games
had been scheduled for Sundays, meaning United always had the
opportunity to play first.
Yesterday Wenger pointed out that his
team were forced to play a rearranged League game against Stoke City
just four days before losing the Carling Cup final last February.
Arsenal won 1-0 but lost Theo
Walcott and Cesc Fabregas to injury, while their opponents at Wembley,
Birmingham City, saw their corresponding League match against Everton
delayed owing to bad weather.
He said: 'You can look 50 times (and) we are 50 times always in that situation.
'Of course it happens to many clubs.
It happens less to some than others. The responsibility of the Premier
League is to make sure that Premier League fixtures are better
distributed than they are.'
Wenger and his captain, Robin van
Persie, were also upset Arsenal had to play a televised League match at
Fulham on January 2, which they lost 2-1, just two days after beating
Van Persie said: 'To be honest, I
still don't really see why we had to play twice in three days. 'We could
have played on the 31st and then the third, or even the fourth, like
other teams did. That would still have given us enough time before the
Leeds game. It looks like the fixtures were all in a rush for no