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Manchester City left fuming over congested festive fixture schedule

Pep Guardiola

It was announced on Thursday that there will be four different kick-off times on Boxing Day this year, while City will face Wolves at Molineux on 27 December at 7.45pm.

That gives Pep Guardiola’s side a turnover time of less than 48 hours before their next league fixture at home to Sheffield United on 29 December at 6pm.

League leaders Liverpool, meanwhile, have an extra day to prepare as they face Leicester away on Boxing Day at 8pm before hosting Wolves at 4.30pm on 29 December.

City’s chief operating officer Omar Berrada said: "We're disappointed that the schedule is so tight for the players over Christmas.”

“It's not ideal to be made to play twice in less than 48 hours because it doesn't give the players time to properly recover.

"We obviously understand that the paying rights-holding broadcasters are an important consideration when it comes to scheduling, but we also need to make sure that we protect the players' wellbeing, the sporting integrity of the league, and the quality of the product."

He added: "We've had an open dialogue with the league to consider other options but ultimately we will have to comply with the kick off times and dates as they have been presented to us."

The announcement of the festive fixture scheduling already faced a six-day delay as the league looked to accommodate three broadcasters, with Amazon showing all of the Boxing Day games.

Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly were left furious by the decision to schedule their game in Leicester on the evening of Boxing Day, with no trains running between the cities on that date and bus services limited.

The group said: "A consequence of such a disdainful, zero-consideration change means LFC's following fixture, at home to Wolves, is also to be moved to Sunday 29 December, again with inconvenience and negative implications for fans and workers.

"The Premier League and TV companies repeatedly ignore the welfare of supporters. But they do have a chance to redeem themselves.

"Spirit of Shankly call on the authorities to do the right thing and revert all Boxing Day fixtures to a sensible kick-off time of 3pm."

Liverpool have said they will provide free coach transport to the Leicester game for fans.

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