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Wenger says football has sold its soul to TV

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said football had sold its soul to television companies as he hit out at the Premier League on Friday over unfair fixture scheduling

Reuters, Saturday 14 Jan 2012
Arsene Wenger

All five of the London club's January matches have been moved to accommodate television coverage.

"We have sold our soul and we do not control our fixtures any more," Wenger told reporters.

"It is the truth. It is not normal that you can have a direct influence on the schedule through television."

Arsenal's first two games of 2012, a 2-1 league defeat at Fulham and a 1-0 FA Cup third-round victory over Leeds United, were screened on Monday evenings.

Forthcoming league games against Swansea City and Manchester United will be played on a Sunday and the FA Cup tie with Aston Villa has been put back from Saturday January 28 to Sunday January 29.

The fourth-round clash with Villa will be televised on ESPN, causing Arsenal's league fixture with Bolton Wanderers the following Tuesday to be shifted to Wednesday.

"I believe the Premier League has to make sure there is a bit more fairness in the schedules," said Wenger.

"The Premier League has to decide what is fair and not fair. At the moment it is television that decides because the contracts are done in a way that is not right for the fairness of the competition.

"You cannot have decisive games with one team playing on Friday and then again on Tuesday and another team on Sunday and then Tuesday," the Frenchman added.

"That does not work. You can try and convince me that it is right but I can tell you from working in football for 30 years, it is not right because it is not fair."

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