Rangnick suggests removing League Cup to reduce match congestion
Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has suggested abolishing the League Cup in a bid to ease match congestion in English football.
The schedule, traditionally the busiest over the Christmas and New Years period, has been strained by the impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, with several Premier League clubs hit by the Covid-19 outbreaks and several Boxing Day (December 26) matches postponed.
United have been out of action since December 11 due to their own virus issues and have seen the league games against Brentford and Brighton postponed.
They are expected to resume action at Newcastle on Monday, Rangnick saying on Friday: “It is a great tradition in England to play on Boxing Day or the 27th, even January 30th or 2nd.
“I think we should stick to that tradition and respect it, but there might be two other issues that have been discussed in the past.”
He added: “England are the only country in Europe’s top five leagues to have two cup competitions.
“In France, they deleted the second a year or two ago, so we are the only country to play two cup competitions.
“This is something we could talk about and discuss again.
“I know that the Coupe de la Ligue is always reserved for third and fourth division teams in order to improve the financial situation of these clubs. But if we’re talking about a tight schedule and having to play too many games, that’s something to be discussed.
Rangnick praised the decision announced on Monday to cut reruns of the FA Cup third and fourth rounds.
Ties will now be played until they are concluded on the first attempt, with extra time and penalties if necessary.
But the Football Association, which removed the replays from the entire competition last season, intends to return them for the 2022/23 edition.
Regarding the abolition of FA Cup reruns, Rangnick said: “It’s a good idea. In cup competitions in other countries you play extra time and penalties. You get reruns, these are topics you could talk about.
United’s squad were reduced to eight fit outfielders and three goalkeepers ahead of the Covid-19 outbreak which forced their Carrington training ground to close for four days.
But Rangnick defended United’s vaccination record, saying: “We also need to make sure most players are vaccinated. I know we have a high record of vaccinated players at our club. “