There, I’ve said it. I feel sick now, I shouldn’t have been forced to say such disgusting things. But I blame the wonks at the Premier League, Sky and BT Sport.
The reason? The Odious One was complaining about TV scheduling of this weekend’s big match against the scousers, which sees the Chavs having to play a massive league match on Sunday afternoon, ahead of the second leg of the CL semi final on Wednesday against Atlético Madrid. Or as he put it:
“The fact that the match is on Sunday, I think that puts the problem not in my hands but in the hands of those who decide the game should be Sunday, not Saturday or Friday. We represent English football and are the only [English] team in European competition.
“Spain have four and give them all the conditions to try to have success. So I know what I would do. I would play the players who are not going to play on Wednesday. My priority is the Champions League. But I’m not the club. I have to speak to them.”
And then he made the stunning suggestion that he might field a weak side against Liverpool in order to preserve legs for the Atlético match. The match against Liverpool is anything but a dead rubber, with three sides genuinely still able to win the title. Sky will have scheduled this match on the basis that it would be one of the games of the season, a battle of two of the giants at the top of the table. So, the thought that Mourinho might sabotage the match, and potentially the run-in for the title, will have upset the TV bigwigs. Of course, it would also cause blood pressure to rise at Man City and the PL headquarters, with the culmination of the season, and the whole sporting contest, potentially tainted.
But Mourinho is right. Why the hell are the TV companies able to screw up clubs’ preparations for massive midweek European games by their scheduling choices at the weekend? The fact that competitors in other countries get sympathetic scheduling only underlines how obnoxious the situation is in England.
Of course, everyone involved in English football is complicit – the extravagant wages Mourinho receives and is able to offer to players comes in large part from the TV subscriptions we shell out. As fans, we also enjoy the benefits, with the best players in the world considering our league as a place to play. The PL revolution, that propelled English football to the elite level of the world game, is the creation of Sky. So why shouldn’t they (or BT Sport) get to choose when such a big match is to be played?
As Arsenal fans, we know why. How many times have we lost out when crappy scheduling has seen us play at noon on a Saturday after an away game many miles away? Or on Sunday before a CL game? It has definitely affected our games, which is unacceptable, so it’s only right that Mourinho should complain when his team are affected too.
TV companies are entitled to make scheduling choices, that’s the deal, but there are limits and when it affects the sporting contest itself, it’s gone too far. I hope Mourinho follows through on his threat this Sunday, perhaps the TV companies would realise they need to change their ways.
Written by 26may