TV companies haven't helped Arsenal as much as Chelsea, says Arsène Wenger
Arsenal's game with Hull this weekend has been swapped with Chelsea's match against Sunderland in a bid to give the Blues more time to recover for Tuesday's Champions League match
Thursday 17 April 2014
Arsène Wenger has hit out at television broadcasters, claiming his Arsenal side have never been given as much help with fixture scheduling as Chelsea and other clubs have.
Arsenal's game at Hull City this weekend has been moved back from Saturday afternoon to Sunday, swapping with Chelsea's game against Sunderland, which will now kick off at 5.30pm on Saturday.
Chelsea play their Champions League semi-final first leg at Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, for which they now have an extra day to prepare. Wenger had no complaints with the move from his perspective, but he did criticise the choice to move some games rather than others, suggesting that help was not given even-handedly.
"We never got any help on that front, never," Wenger said. "There is no written rule. It is the television companies who help. It is not the Premier League. The television companies decide who plays when and some clubs have maybe better introductions with television companies. We never had and we never tried to influence the decision of Sky or any other company."
Sky Sports would say the decision to move the Chelsea game owed more to the Premier League than to them.
"If you want to know more, you look at the teams who have been protected since the start of the season and the teams who had the biggest rest between games," Wenger added. "You will see and you come to your own conclusions. I don't question the objectivity of the television companies but sometimes their choices don't look very rational."
The game against Hull is a precursor to next month's FA Cup final, but Wenger said their focus was on the league for now. He did admit he was disappointed at the 25,000 ticket allocation for the final on 17 May. "One of the charms of the FA Cup final was always that the stadium was divided in two. It's a shame it doesn't happen any more."
Wenger's fixture woe
* Arsenal were originally due to visit Hull on Saturday evening, with Chelsea hosting Sunderland on Sunday – both games being televised on Sky Sports.
* After Chelsea were handed a Champions League tie on Tuesday, their match was swapped with Arsenal's to aid the Blues' preparations. Both remain on Sky.
* The original scheduling of the trip to Hull on Saturday led to Wenger requesting this week's visit of West Ham – rearranged due to Arsenal's FA Cup match last weekend – take place on Tuesday, to give them time to prepare for the trip north.
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