The weekends draw against Hull City is bad news for fans of Swansea City, as it is likely that their Premier League game against Arsenal will be re-arranged to allow the FA Cup replay to take place.
Now some of you will be screaming “Arsenal do not play in the Champions League the weekend before the QF” Well you are right, but also wrong.
UEFA’s dictatorship dictates that national federations may not schedule top level games or cup matches that clash with Champions League or Europa League.
Basically, they do not want an FA Cup, La Liga or Serie A game to take away any of the viewers from their tournament. It is basically greed. They do not want their own TV viewing figures to drop, and therefore reducing the people that see their sponsors adverts. They basically bully national federations with “If you want to play in our competitions, you have to agree to our rules.”
They do the same with governments if they wish to host major tournaments – the IAAF also do it with the Olympics – ensuring little to no tax is paid by either the organisation or their sponsors.
What this leaves the FA, Arsenal & Hull with is three options:
- Re-arrange the Arsenal v Swansea and Birmingham v Hull City games, putting the FA Cup replay on either the 3rd or 4th of March. The re-arranged Swansea fixture will then be moved to the week commencing 18th March
- Play the FA Cup reply on the same weekend as the QF games. And then re-schedule the QF match for when the QF replays will be (and pray that the QF does not go to replay)
- Schedule the game for when the Champions League is, but have it finishing before 7.45pm so that is does not clash with Champions League games – Barcelona recently played a match against Sporting Gijon in La Liga kicking off late afternoon
The Swansea fixture is the most likely, and easiest for all involved, to move.
Looking forward into the future (if Arsenal get through), the Premier League and Arsenal could have some headaches coming up. If Arsenal make the QF of the FA Cup, and are taken once more to a replay, and get through to the semi final, we might see Arsenal having to play a fixture after the season has “ended.”
If Arsenal make the Semi Final, requiring a replay in the QF, it leaves one free week to play 3 fixtures.
Even if we do not require a QF replay, it still leaves one game having no where to go, as the QF replay week will be used for Swansea, and it would still leave us to have to re-arrange the Swansea and Sunderland game into the same week to ensure all games are completed before the end of the season.
Of course, this is all just speculation at the moment, if Arsenal lose to Hull, the re-arranged Swansea game will take place where the FA Cup QF game is and there will be no need to reschedule any further games.
It could be even worse for Manchester City if today’s game against Chelsea go’s to replay. With next week being the League Cup Final, they already have one game to re-arrange. They could end up having 4 to find space for.
As a travelling fan, it is frustrating to not be able to take advantage of advanced rail tickets. I feel for Swansea fans who will be unable to get refunds. I feel for WBA fans who still await a date to play Arsenal. And I feel for ourselves, who are going to have to potentially wait until the last minute to purchase what will then be a £100 rail ticket to get to Sunderland (via Newcastle).