Ralf Rangnick claims scrapping Premier League festive fixtures would be like ‘abolishing the Queen’

Ralf Rangnick has compared the scrapping of games to abolishing the Queen (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick says scrapping the Premier League’s festive matches would be like “abolishing the Queen”.

There has been some criticism of the busy schedule over the Christmas period with injuries and Covid cases making team selection difficult for clubs. England’s top-flight has long been the only European league to continue through the winter without a break.

Rangnick told MUTV: “I’ve watched Premier League football for the last 40 years, so when it was also the First Division, and I know what kind of tradition it is to play football over Christmas and on Boxing Day, the 27th, the 30th and even New Year’s Day or the 2nd January.

“So if somebody came across the idea to abolish [that] then we might as well speak about abolishing the five o’clock tea or the Queen or whatever – this is all part of the tradition of this country and I’m very much looking forward to being part of this for the first time in my career.”

Despite voicing support for the league’s fixtures, the boss has suggested getting rid of the Carabao Cup games to ease pressure on clubs. United haven’t played a match since 11 December due to Covid cases but are expected to compete again on Monday against Newcastle.

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“England is the only country in the top five leagues in Europe that plays two cup competitions,” Rangnick said. “In France they abolished the second one a year or two ago, so we are the only country who plays two cup competitions.

“This is something we could once again speak about and discuss. I know the League Cup is still kept for the third and fourth division teams to improve the financial situations of those clubs.

“But if we speak about a tight calendar and having to play too many games, this is something to discuss.”

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