London – Alex Ferguson has accused Premier League chiefs of damaging Manchester United's chances of winning the Champions League with their “ridiculous” scheduling.
Ferguson is furious his team must play Everton at Old Trafford in a Premier League fixture on Sunday, while Real Madrid, who host United in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday, have been allowed to bring their Liga clash with Sevilla forward to Saturday.
The United manager believes the extra time Madrid now have to recover could be crucial and he launched a scathing attack on the Premier League for failing to reschedule the Everton match.
“The Premier League agree the contract with TV and they are in control. But they are not giving our teams a chance to be successful in Europe,” Ferguson was quoted as saying in several English newspapers on Saturday.
“It is ridiculous to think we are playing on Sunday and Real Madrid have an extra day's rest.
“It is not fair. France play Friday nights. Why? Possibly we (England) get more money out of television I don't know.
“Other countries make sacrifices for their top teams in Europe. What can you do? Not turn up? I would like to do that by the way.”
Ferguson insists he isn't just looking out for United's interests and he believes the Premier League need to plan their fixtures more carefully to take into consideration other clubs' European exploits.
In April 2007, Tottenham played a Europa League tie in Seville before flying back and taking on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a Saturday lunchtime game, which could not be moved because the hosts were stuck in that Wednesday-Tuesday Champions League fix.
“It is pointless complaining about these things all the time,” he said.
“You know full well after an away game in Europe you are not getting back until two or three in the morning and then are playing again on the Saturday.
“There was an even more ridiculous case than ours when Tottenham played on a Thursday night in the Europa League and then had to play on the Saturday against Chelsea.
“How many times have I complained about it? You've heard my complaints. Do they listen?” – Sapa-AFP