Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has rejected proposals to scrap FA Cup replays – despite frequent gripes about the demands on his players. The 66-year-old Frenchman is a noted critic of fixture congestion in English football, but has revealed he opposes plans designed to reduce player workload.
Wenger said he has become "conservatively English" during his 20-year reign at Arsenal. His remarks come at a time when Premier League clubs are discussing plans to reduce fixtures and introduce a winter break.
"I am now vaccinated against the FA rules after such a long time, I have become very conservatively English," Wenger explained during a pre-match press conference, according to The Mirror. "I am quite a bit nervous about changing the rules because I like them now, I believe it looks like we always get more money and want to play less games."
The Arsenal manager said the Premier League's lucrative new broadcasting contract ought to make it easier than ever for the clubs to cope with the demands on their players. "Next season we have even more money coming in, so every single club will have 25 top-level players," he said. "I am convinced all of the clubs can compete with the number of games we have to play, so there is no real need for me to change the rules.
"This is the most traditional competition in England, so let's respect it and keep it as it is."
The Arsenal boss also revealed he has reservations about the introduction of a winter break. "I have nothing against it [winter break]but then again you need to find dates. If it is to shorten the break in the summer, I am against it because we face now more and more summer periods where we cannot prepare our teams because the preparation is too short.
"Let's not forget that the European Championship has gone to 24 teams and even the European Championship is now one month. It finishes on 10 July, and you start the Premier League on August 10, so if it is to shorten that [period] on top of that, I am against it. If we can find a little break in the winter, after Christmas, I am happy."
Wenger has previously called on Fifa to take action to reduce players' workload. "We face a situation where it's impossible for the players to get through a season and have rest," the Arsenal boss said. "This kind of friction that it creates between the clubs, national teams and international competitions can create a split.
"One day the clubs could move away and say, 'Enough is enough. We pay a huge amount of money for our best players so we'll get them together ourselves and organise our own competitions'. It's important that all of that gets on the table while we have the opportunity."