Last updated : 29 January 2003 By Editor
From Ananova.

Arsene Wenger has called on the Football Association to ensure that the timing of Arsenal's FA Cup fifth round tie at Manchester United does not undermine his side's Champions League campaign. Wenger wants the tie to take place on Saturday February 15, rather than being moved to the Sunday, as Arsenal face Ajax in the Champions League on the following Tuesday at Highbury.

The BBC, who have first choice of the FA Cup televised live fixtures, would ideally like such a big match to be played in a prime-time slot either on Saturday or Sunday evening.

However, Greater Manchester Police must first be consulted over any evening kick-off to ensure crowd safety.

Then there is the added TV scheduling problem of the Six Nations Championship, with France facing England at Twickenham on BBC1 at 4pm on the Saturday. Another solution is a lunchtime kick-off that day, although that would hardly ensure a huge TV audience in Britain, even if the worldwide viewing figures could still be enormous.

Talks are ongoing, with any announcement by the FA not expected before Wednesday at the earliest.

Wenger insisted: "We can win at 1pm or 6pm on the Saturday, but we can't play on the Sunday. That's impossible.

"We play on the Tuesday night so the earlier, the better for us."

Is someone getting his excuses in earlier?