Man City hit out at Premier League over ‘integrity’ of Christmas fixture changes


The champions have a busy schedule in December and January, leaving them with less than 48 hours between the games against Wolves and Sheffield United

Manchester City have criticised the Premier League’s changes to the Christmas fixture list, arguing that their congested schedule threatens the “sporting integrity” of the English top-flight.

Kick-off times for nine of the reigning champions’ fixtures in December and January have been rearranged due to television coverage.

One of those has been City’s game away at Wolves, which was originally scheduled for Boxing Day but has been moved to the following day, with kick-off at 7:45pm GMT (2:45pm ET).

As a result, Pep Guardiola’s players will have less than 48 hours to recover before they host Sheffield United in their next game, which takes place on Sunday, December 29 at 6pm GMT (1pm ET).

Meanwhile, Wolves will have a wait of just 44 hours before they travel to Anfield to face current league leaders Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s men, on the other hand, will have a longer rest as there will be 68 hours between their trip to Leicester City on December 26 and the game against Wolves.

To further compound matters, City return to action on January 1 when they face Everton while Liverpool do not play again following their meeting with Wolves until they face Sheffiled United on January 2.

The difference in gaps between matches could leave City at a disadvantage in the battle with Klopp’s side for the Premier League crown and the club have expressed their disappointment in the changes.

“We’re disappointed that the schedule has been so tight for the players over Christmas,” chief operating officer Omar Berrada told the Manchester Evening News.

“Premier League games are a huge physical demand, and it’s not ideal to be made to play twice in less than 48 hours because it doesn’t give the players time to properly recover.

“We obviously understand that the paying rights-holding broadcasters are an important consideration when it comes to scheduling, but we also need to make sure that we protect the players’ wellbeing, the sporting integrity of the league, and the quality of the product.

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“We’ve had an open dialogue with the league to consider other options, but ultimately, we will have to comply with the kick off times and dates as they have been presented to us.”

City are second in the Premier League after eight games and sit eight points behind Liverpool.

Guardiola’s men return to action on Saturday with a trip to Crystal Palace, a day before the Reds travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.


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