It is a question that has been asked many times of the Premier League and their answer has always been ‘no’ – will you move a domestic game to help an English team in Europe?
That wasn’t what happened when Rennes petitioned Ligue 1 to move their game against Nimes. They saw the sense in moving it to help one of their teams and, despite the protests of their opposition, conceded the move.
Arsenal face Rennes in the first leg on March 7, five days after playing Tottenham at Wembley.
They then play Manchester United three days later before facing Rennes again four days after that.
Only an international break means the Gunner’s don’t have a fifth massive game within 12 days.
Contrast that, then, to Rennes upcoming fixture list.
Their game this weekend was supposed to be played on Saturday evening but that has been postponed. That means the French side will have been resting since their 1-1 draw with Marseille on Saturday.
Following their home Europa tie against Arsenal they are then at home against Caen on Sunday.
While nobody expects the Premier League to consistently move ties to accommodate teams in Europe, it seems absurd to schedule some of the biggest matches within days of crunch ties in Europe.
It’s almost as if they don’t realise that an English team doing well in Europe helps English football in general.
And, for the record, a few years back when Chelsea desperately wanted a game moved because they were in the Champions League semi-final, I fully backed their call too.