Sports

Premier League giants in row with Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon over schedule

Premier League giants are locked in a bitter row over the TV festive schedule.

Sky, BT Sport and Amazon have yet to announce their December fixture list because the clubs have been arguing over the pile-up of games.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has already publicly sounded off about this season’s fixtures but other clubs have also voiced their objections about the Christmas and New Year games with a source describing the schedule as “horrific.”

The broadcasters were hoping to announce the December games on Tuesday but it will now be later this week while clubs desperately jostle for slots as some face the prospect of playing three games in seven days, but also two in the space of 72 hours.

Sky have the pick of the Boxing Day games, Amazon have December 28th and BT Sport have New Year’s Day but, because all games are being shown live, they are trying to move dates to squeeze them all in.

Jurgen Klopp gestures on the sideline

That has left some of the bigger clubs who will be involved in the biggest TV games furious at their scheduling because they have been moved.

Clubs are ready to kick off again as Klopp did after Liverpool’s win over Leicester on Sunday as they have seen their proposed fixture list – and some have been left furious.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard mentioned it in his pre-Rennes press conference and Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also joined Klopp in sounding off about having to play in Europe on a Wednesday night – and then have the Saturday lunchtime game.

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However, the broadcasters are annoyed at the public spat because they are of the view that the clubs signed up to the TV deal, managers should be aiming their anger at their own club’s executives or indeed the Premier League hierarchy for not showing stronger leadership.

No club voiced any concerns at the start of the season about the Saturday lunchtime kick off slot while the clubs also knew this season would be unprecedented and the fixture list would be condensed but the broadcasters played ball with Project Restart last season.

They are annoyed at the public slanging match now – because the clubs did not complain when they signed up to the multi-billion deal which makes the Premier League the wealthiest and most attractive league in the world.

The TV companies are under pressure

Klopp’s public annoyance has been backed by Brighton chief executive Paul Barber who says he sympathises with Liverpool’s positive.

Barber said: “I think Liverpool, I counted up, may have eight in 28 days. Of course, I’ve got sympathy.

“Jurgen’s got a very tough job, as has Graham Potter, as have all the managers up and down the country in all the leagues. It’s a congested fixture programme because we’ve got a condensed season.

“But, in terms of the bigger picture, I think we’re all having to give and take a little bit here and we’ve all got challenges with fixture programmes. Obviously, the most successful clubs, the biggest clubs, have got even more challenges and I understand and respect that.”




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