EPL won't switch times to help teams in Europe

LONDON • English Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has ruled out moving fixtures to give top clubs more time to prepare for Champions League games.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger have complained that the prospects for elite sides are harmed in Europe by the league's refusal to help them.

They have lobbied for fixture amendments in the run-up to Champions League matches. Mourinho and Wenger argue that other leagues are more sympathetic to their clubs who need time to prepare for European competition and the results are being seen on the pitch.

Last season, not one English team reached the last eight of either European competition for the first time in 22 years.

And no EPL club have reached the Champions League final since Chelsea won it in 2012. But the EPL will not budge, even though it is worried that England will lose a spot if the decline continues.

England is third in the Uefa coefficient table - behind Spain and Germany - and currently provides four teams for Europe's elite club competition. Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United will feature in the 2015-16 Champions League.

"Yes, there is a concern," Scudamore said. "One on a practical basis, as if we keep declining it's bad for our co-efficient 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... We've looked at it but it's practically impossible to do anything."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2015, with the headline 'EPL won't switch times to help teams in Europe'. Print Edition | Subscribe