Uefa boss hits back at Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola over fixture complaints

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Aleksander Ceferin - GETTY IMAGES
Aleksander Ceferin - GETTY IMAGES

The president of Uefa has told Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola to stop complaining about fixture scheduling, proclaiming only “factory workers” paid £10,000 a year had cause to moan.

Aleksander Ceferin fired back at Liverpool boss Klopp and Manchester City manager Guardiola over their gripes about how frequently their sides were forced to play, which included attacks on both the Nations League and Fifa.

Ceferin also accused English clubs complaining about the soon-to-be expanded Champions League of hypocrisy over their refusal to cut the Premier League to 18 teams and scrap the Carabao Cup.

“It’s easy always to attack Fifa and Uefa, but the thing is simple,” Ceferin told Gazetta dello Sport. “If you play less, you get less money.

“Who should complain are the factory workers who get €1,000 (£861) per month.

“Everyone wants more cup games, but nobody gives up on anything. Clubs wanted 10 games in the Champions League group stage. They’ll have eight; it’s the right number.

“Domestic leagues should have 18 clubs, but the presidents do not agree. They should understand that two domestic cups are too many.”

Klopp hit out at Uefa after Liverpool’s FA Cup win over Chelsea in May, saying: “The reason I am not in such a good mood when I speak about Uefa is because of the Nations League.

“I still think it is one of the most ridiculous ideas in the world of football because now we finish a season where [some] players have played more than 70 games.”

Klopp was also upset at Liverpool being forced to play their penultimate Premier League game of the season just three days after they were taken to penalties at Wembley.

“It’s tough but it’s better you moan and argue when you have won something than when you lose,” he said.

“Other people say, ‘Why doesn’t he stop whining?!’

“Because nobody else is doing it. You don’t all think about it for a second. ‘It’s tough, huh? Maybe it would be better if you play on Thursday’. Yeah, it would have been slightly better. So, 120 minutes and then Tuesday. Come on. That’s really massive.”

Guardiola spoke out in December ahead of the hectic festive schedule, saying: “The problem is the fixtures, the calendar, 365 days a year with international duties for the national team, huge competitions with a lot of games.

“The players have two or three weeks of holiday in the summer and it’s the season again. This is too much.

“Should the players and the managers be all together and make a strike, or something, because just through words it’s not going to be solved? For Fifa, the Premier League, the broadcasters… the business is more important than the welfare.”

In his Gazzetta dello Sport interview, Ceferin also explained more about the Champions League changes from 2024, adding: “Today, you can already predict who will play in the Round of 16 after the draw.

“In the future, big clubs will meet more frequently, smaller clubs will have more chances to qualify and the group will be fought until the end.

“It will be spectacular; 2024 is tomorrow.”

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