By Declan Taylor
Arsène Wenger has lamented the decision to play Arsenal’s FA Cup tie with Burnley on Sunday, just three days before their vital Champions League trip to Rome.
Wenger admits that a request to play on Saturday was made to the FA but, because of the money involved in the television contract, the Gunners’ Fifth-Round tie had to be played a day later.
Roma, who usually play their Serie A games on Sunday evening, have had this weekend’s fixture against Udinese brought forward to Saturday - buying the Giallorossi valuable recovery time, according to Wenger.
"It is not ideal. Let’s be frank, we asked to play on Saturday and we got an answer 'yes, you can play on Sunday',” said the manager at Thursday’s pre-match press conference.
"We asked the FA to play on Saturday because for example Roma play on Saturday when usually they play on Sunday. They moved their game to Saturday because every single knock you get or every problem is difficult to sort out in three days.
"Because we play away as well, we would have loved one day more. In this situation, for example it is very difficult because the FA is not the master of the fixtures. It is the television [companies] that is the master of the fixtures and they decide, which I can understand because they pay a lot of money.
"The problem is now the package we sell because it doesn’t give us any freedom any more to get the fixtures when we would like to have them. This is maybe somewhere we pay the price for the money we want."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 5 Mar 2009