Premier League Friday games ‘frustrating’ - Harvey

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The Premier League’s decision to broadcast live matches on Friday nights has been criticised by the Football League for clashing with a slot which has traditionally been used for lower-league games.

The Friday night games - up to 10 matches a season - are part of the Premier League’s new invitation to tender (ITT) for the domestic TV rights for the 2016-2019 seasons.

Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey - who also announced that no clubs other than Blackburn, Leeds and Nottingham Forest will have FFP transfer embargoes for January - said he understood the pressures on the Premier League but labelled the move “disappointing” and “frustrating”.

Harvey said: “The Premier League’s tender document includes an increased number of live matches and an intention to broadcast up to 10 matches on a Friday evening, which is obviously disappointing as this slot has traditionally been used by the Football League for its own televised matches.

“While it’s frustrating and will make our job of meeting our own contractual commitments harder, we do nevertheless understand the pressures that are building on the fixture calendar.”

Harvey blamed the demands of the Champions League and Europa League for adding to the pressure on domestic competitions.

He added: “They [the pressures] are being created mainly by the expansion of European club competitions because leagues are prohibited from broadcasting their matches on the same night. In addition, it means that Premier League clubs in European competitions cannot play in televised domestic matches on a Monday evening.

“In any event, the broadcasting of Premier League matches on a Friday night at the level being proposed will always be more preferable than the idea of the entire Premier League fixture schedule being shown live, or matches being shown at 3pm on a Saturday, as this could have catastrophic consequences for our clubs.”

In terms of financial fair play, Harvey said only the trio of clubs announced on December 15 will be subject to transfer embargoes.

A decision is expected in the first half of January on whether promoted clubs QPR and Leicester will be fined.

Harvey said: “Based on information that has now been received and reviewed, there will be only three clubs subject to an FFP embargo from the 1st January 2015: Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest.”

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