The Premier League should NOT follow Europe’s lead and re-arrange games prior to European fixtures

There has been a lot of fuss in the news recently abut leagues cancelling weekend games to give their sides more time to prepare for a European tie.

This is not a new thing. Back in the early 2000s, the Portuguese league cancelled a whole host of games for Porto to help them out. They won the Champions League.

In France the game between Rennes and Nimes was postponed. The same happened in Holland for Ajax and in Germany they have moved weekend games to a Friday to give sides an extra day.

With Ajax beating Real Madrid, an argument could be made that moving their domestic game helped them into the Champions League Quarter Finals.

We have had Mauricio Pochettino complain that English teams need more help and games should be re-arranged at late notice.

Despite the obvious benefits of moving a game, I am against the Premier League following suit. Weekend games prior to European games should not be moved.

I go home and away. I have a season ticket for both.

Already match going fans are screwed over left, right and centre by TV companies.

Games are moved at late notice to satisfy Sky Sports or BT Sports, moved to times when fans have little to no chance getting public transport back. The majority of the time we miss out on cheaper train tickets for away games.

The situation is already awful; the Premier League shifting games at even later notice for European football will only make things worse.

It is not just away fans, but also home fans that are affected.

Imagine a scenario where a fan from Norway or America has booked flights and hotels, only for the game to be moved. And even closer to home, fans from Ireland on Newcastle. These guys would have to get flights, trains and hotels for a game in North London.

Even just moving a game backwards a day – from Saturday to Friday – like what has happened in the Bundesliga can create huge ramifications.

Most fans would travel late on Friday (after work) or early Saturday. Bringing it to a Friday evening kick off would mean changing flights, hotels and taking a day off work.

And it is not just Arsenal fans that I am thinking of. It is opposing fans as well.

Look at the situation in France.

The game between Rennes and Nimes was postponed on 25 February. This was 5 days before the game was set to be played.

It did not just create issues for Rennes fans but also for Nimes fans.

It is 480 miles from Nimes to Rennes. Fans of Nimes would have already booked flights and trains for the game. How is it fair on them that the game is cancelled to help out Rennes?

Imagine if Arsenal were at home to Newcastle last Saturday, and the Premier League decided to postpone the game at FIVE days notice. This would be unfair of Newcastle fans.

And then you have when the games are re-arranged too.

The fixtures list is already crowded. Games would have to be rearranged to mid week.

This would mean time off work, hotels, more expensive trains, and even many fans no longer being able to go.

And is it really fair on all sides?

If they are moving an Arsenal game to give more time to prepare for a European tie, should they not do the same for FA Cup replays and mid-week League Cup games. And what about relegation 6 pointers?

Whilst from a “success” point of view moving games does make sense – the weekend break gives teams more time to prepare – the majority of match going fans would not be happy with a game moving at late notice.

Clubs need to do more to look after the interests of match going fans. They are the life blood of the club. Football without fans is nothing. Football is a not a TV show. If leagues start moving games at late notice for European football, it will show that they do not care for match going fans. It will further increase the gap between fans and clubs.

Sides spend millions on wages and have 25-man squads. The more successful a side the better (and more) players they have. It is up to those sides to manage their squads.

Ultimately, when you look at the list of Champions League winners over the last decade, none of been helped by fixtures being re-arranged.

Nimes, PEC Zwolle and PSV Eidenhoven have all questioned the fixtures with Rennes and Ajax being moved and have sought legal action.

Moving fixtures for European football will be just another dagger in the heart for match goings fans.


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