FA hit back at Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola over player fatigue moans
The FA are prepared to ignore complaints from Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola over the structure of their cup competitions, despite concerns over player welfare.
As reported by the Mail, Klopp and Guardiola have both questioned the necessity for replays in the FA Cup, amid growing fears that hectic fixture schedules are leading to increased fatigue and injury.
Man Utd's Marcus Rashford has been ruled out for up to three months with a double stress fracture of his back after featuring in the FA Cup third-round replay with Wolves, despite struggling with a fitness issue.
Tottenham's Harry Kane has also been sidelined with a hamstring injury that required surgery, sustained against Middlesbrough in the same competition.
Man City boss Guardiola said: "I am so sorry for Kane and Rashford because they are good for the league but I am not surprised."
"The solution is to make a year of 400 days," said Guardiola. "Then we can book another competition." "Of course it is too much to expect," said Guardiola. "All the managers complained about it but they [the authorities] don't care.
"A distance of two or three days [between games] again and again. The players suffer. They want to do well and the clubs have a lot of pressure to win or qualify for the Champions League. We push and push. The body says 'stop', 'enough'. With that number of games, the players break down."
Liverpool manager Klopp has been similarly critical, labelling the congested fixture schedule over Christmas "a crime."
"It's absolutely not OK," Klopp said.
"And we still have it. None of the managers have a problem with matches on Boxing Day, but playing the 26th and 28th is a crime.
"We can say whatever we want and no-one is really interested but every year it is the same for the coaches involved in it."
Despite introducing a winter break this season, Man Utd have not gone a whole week without a fixture since mid-November, in which time they've played 18 times, 16 of which in domestic competitions.
The FA are not prepared to scrap replays though, which they believe are crucial to the revenue of lower league clubs.
Teams outside of the Premier League can earn significant sums from the increase in television coverage and gate receipts as a result of forcing a replay against big opposition.
Replays in the fifth round of the FA Cup were removed last season to allow for clubs to have a winter break.
The fixture congestion is only likely to increase further by 2024, with the planned expansion of the Champions League, as well as a restructured Club World Cup.
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