Premier League managers call for January signings to be banned from rearranged games

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Premier League managers call for January signings to be banned from rearranged games - PA
Premier League managers call for January signings to be banned from rearranged games - PA

Premier League managers have called for new signings like Philippe Coutinho to be banned from playing in matches postponed due to Covid.

Ralph Hasenhuttl and David Moyes led the calls to effectively ‘cup tie’ players to protect the integrity of the league on the day Aston Villa signed Coutinho on loan and Newcastle completed the purchase of Kieran Trippier for £12 million.

The Southampton manager was angered last week when their game with Newcastle was called off with the Tyneside club unable to put out a side. Eddie Howe has since strengthened his squad with the capture of Trippier and Hassenhuttl wants the league to legislate against players appearing in fixtures originally scheduled when new recruits had not yet arrived.

“I think it should maybe be something the Premier League is discussing,” he said. “How many games have we had postponed? I think 16, 17 or 18 games so far. You cannot stop playing in December and wait for a signing in January to play.”

Aston Villa also stand to benefit from the arrival of Coutinho, who could play in fixtures against Burnley and Leeds United, which were called off as the Omicron variant of coronavirus was depleting Premier League squads. David Moyes, the West Ham United manager, supported Hasenhuttl’s stance. West Ham saw their match against Norwich City postponed and Moyes says new signings should not be playing in rearranged games. “I totally agree with that,” he added.

Southampton were taken over by Serbian media mogul Dragan Solak this week and Hassenhuttl believes even his side could now exert an unfair advantage with increased funds available in this window.

“It is for us the same,” Hasenhuttl said. “We can also now with our new owners sign three players and I don’t think it is really fair for them to play in games that have been postponed,” he said

“Nobody did this but it could in the future be an opportunity. You shouldn’t get that … We could now sign four players and against Brentford we could play with a completely different squad.”

Petr Cech, meanwhile, has accused the Premier League of compromising player wellbeing and the integrity of its own competition with the rearranged fixture. Cech, Chelsea’s technical and performance advisor, revealed the European champions were disappointed and “puzzled” at their game against Brighton being played on Tuesday, Jan 18 rather than the following day, which would give both teams more time to recover from the previous weekend.

The fixture was rearranged as Chelsea head to UAE in February for the FIFA Club World Cup. “Once again, we are extremely concerned about the welfare of our players in all of this and we are puzzled why Wednesday, Jan 19 was not considered as an alternative date seeing as this would not compromise either team as we both play our next games the following Sunday,” he wrote in his column on chelseafc.com “Scheduling us to play three games in seven days means the players’ welfare, fitness and wellbeing will be severely compromised.

“Everyone accepts we are all operating in unprecedented times. As a club, we are playing our part to keep everyone safe, make as many players available for selection as possible, and keep football going and the league on track, with player welfare paramount in our minds. It’s a shame that doesn’t appear to have been reflected in recent decision-making around fixtures.”

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