FA counts cost of fixture clashes

BY foxsports • April 26, 2013

Tito Vilanova has denied Barcelona's heavy defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich this week signifies 'an end of an era'.

The Catalans suffered a 4-0 UEFA Champions League first-leg semi-final defeat in the Allianz Arena leaving Vilanova's side with a mountain to climb at Camp Nou on Wednesday if they are to progress to the Wembley final.

While the defeat has left some to speculate to 'an end of an era', Vilanova does not agree.

"They talk about that all the time, but at the highest level of competition, like in the league or the Champions League, to win is always very difficult," he said.

"Barca have continued to win for the last three seasons, but in the past we have not won the league nor the Champions League.

"If we win the title this year then we will be back to winning trophies and we have done that for four of the last five seasons. I do not think that will be done again.

"We have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League for the last six years. I certainly do not think that this is the end of an era."

Meanwhile Vilanova, who recently returned to the dugout after cancer treatment, insists that he is fit and ready to stay on as head coach after the club announced he would continue at the helm next season.

"I have a real desire and drive to carry on next season," he said.

"Now I am great after the process that I have been through. I did not come back earlier because of the side effects, but I feel better every day. I really want to train again and to be in the press room.

"On the subject of me staying on I feel strong and am looking forward to next season. At no time have I thought about leaving. When I have time off I get bored. This is my life and I do not feel under any pressure."

UEFA insist that Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup matches should not take place on the same nights as Champions League and Europa League games but fixture congestion has led to that rule being broken on a number of occasions in recent seasons.

As a result, the Football Association has agreed to pay 50,000 euros (?42,000) and that a further 1.3m euros (?1.1m) of solidarity payments that has been withheld by UEFA be distributed to other European countries.

UEFA said in a statement: "The control and disciplinary board also issued a decision concerning the proceedings initiated against the English Football Association (FA) regarding calendar clashes relating to the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons.

"Accepting a resolution of the case between the parties, the FA will pay 50,000 euros and the 10 oer cent of the UEFA Champions League distribution payment for 2010/11, which was withheld, will be added at the end of the current campaign to the pot for distribution to the respective clubs in the relevant remaining UEFA member associations.

"In addition, UEFA will now establish a working group, which will involve representatives of the FA, in order to avoid calendar clashes in future."

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