Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

TV Fixtures Row Grows as Wenger Reveals His Frustration; Arsenal Boss Says the Televised FA Cup Tie on Sunday Threatens His Champions League Dream

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

TV Fixtures Row Grows as Wenger Reveals His Frustration; Arsenal Boss Says the Televised FA Cup Tie on Sunday Threatens His Champions League Dream

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES OLLEY Football Correspondent

ARSENE WENGER today claimed the TV scheduling of Sunday's FA Cup clash with Burnley could ruin Arsenal's chances of Champions League glory.

The Gunners had originally asked the Football Association to let them play on Saturday but the match was moved back 24 hours so it could be shown live at the request of Setanta Sports.

Arsenal face Roma on Wednesday 1-0 up after the first leg. The Italians have been granted an extra 24 hours to prepare and Wenger believes the top clubs in England are paying the price of the big-money TV deals of recent seasons.

ITV will screen Chelsea's lunchtime game at Coventry and Manchester United's evening kick-off at Fulham on Saturday. Setanta has chosen to show Everton's clash with Blackburn and the Arsenal game on Sunday.

Wenger said: "It is not ideal. Let's be frank. We asked to play on Saturday and we got an answer 'you can play on Sunday'.

We asked the FA to play on Saturday because Roma will play on that day when usually they play on Sunday. They moved their game back because every single knock you get or every problem is difficult to sort out in three days.

"Because we play away as well, we would have loved one day more. In this situation, for example, it is very difficult because the FA is not the master of the fixtures. It is the television that is the master of the fixtures and they decide, which I can understand because they pay a lot of money.

"The problem is the package we sell, because it doesn't give us any freedom any more to get the fixtures when we would like to have them. This is maybe somewhere we pay the price for the money we want." Despite the setback, Wenger vowed

Wenger: TV demands could ruin our European dream to field as strong a side as possible against Burnley and will be boosted by the return of Theo Walcott, William Gallas and Eduardo from injury.

Walcott has been out since November with a shoulder injury, while Eduardo and Gallas have recovered from hamstring and thigh problems respectively. …

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