West Brom incensed at fixture injustice

Date published: Tuesday 2nd January 2018 10:22

Angry West Brom asked the Premier League to postpone Tuesday’s trip to West Ham with the club fuming at playing twice in three days.

Albion chairman John Williams has spoken directly to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore to voice the Baggies’ concerns.

The club have written multiple letters to the league with the Baggies unhappy West Ham have had a week to prepare for the fixture.

Albion go to the London Stadium on Tuesday after their 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Sunday while the Hammers have not played since Boxing Day.

West Ham’s televised game at Tottenham was moved from Sunday to Thursday because of safety concerns with the tube stations around Wembley at reduced capacity on New Year’s Eve.

The Safety Advisory Group at the national stadium could only recommend 43,000 fans be let in – less than half the usual amount.

But Albion’s complaints have fallen on deaf ears and manager Alan Pardew has made his feelings known.

He said: “It’s terrible. We all know there’s pressure on TV companies for ratings and everything else and games – I understand that. The league’s got to be stronger and say two days is not right.”

Pardew also insisted he will have to make changes to his line-up because, otherwise, he would be putting his players’ safety at risk.

“Of course I am. There’s some players who won’t be able to cope with that. I’d be putting them at risk. Matty Phillips for example – I wouldn’t take Matty Phillips off (against Arsenal) if I didn’t have West Ham.”

All Premier League clubs were told at the start of the season the schedule would be condensed due to the need to fit in an extra round of games because of an early finish for the World Cup.

The weekend of December 30 was also a normal game week and if the league had moved the New Year fixtures into midweek there was a fear fewer fans would have been able to travel.

A Premier League statement read: “With reference to the scheduling of our New Year’s Eve fixtures, a late decision by public service providers ensured one match would no longer be able to go ahead as originally planned.

“As the fixture had already been selected for live UK broadcast, it was moved to the next available date, which is in line with normal practice.”

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