Wenger on Christmas Eve game: I would prefer to be at home

Martin Atkinson

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In the lead-up to the meeting, there were widespread rumours and concerns at the suggestion that games on Saturday 23 December could be moved to Christmas Eve for live TV coverage.

"At the meeting, the subject of Christmas fixtures was discussed".

However, it is understood that Premier League bosses are looking at screening multiple games at once, in a bid to avoid playing matches at inconvenient times for supporters.

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Perhaps the only positive was the promise of no late kick-offs on the day, which would not only be greeted by grumbles from the public and more than likely the players, but also the fans whose travel would become nigh-on impossible should games start late.

The proposal was met by fierce criticism in light of the difficulties of travelling to and from London on Christmas Eve.

The FSF described the proposal as "a new low point in putting the interests of football broadcasters over those of match-going fans".

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Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has declared this week that no game will kick off at 4pm on Christmas Eve following the backlash. "The Premier League have made genuine efforts to meet our requirements". However, given that Sky now shares broadcasting rights with BT Sport and considering the profile of a fixture between Arsenal and Liverpool, it had considered moving the game to 24 December.

"Personally I would prefer to be at my home and celebrate Christmas, but I still feel that could happen if we played early on [Christmas Eve]", the Frenchman added.

Early discussions between the Premier League and its clubs have focussed around broadcasting more matches through the week and on Bank Holidays.

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Negotiations are "ongoing" about what would be the second-ever Premier League Christmas Eve match and "the first for 22 years".

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