Fergie On TV Games
Television, and not the clubs, controls English football, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the BBC on Monday.
The 69-year-old said that United and its rivals were paying the price for the big money that television was paying for having the rights to show English Premier League matches live.
The present deal struck for the period of 2010-2013 allows BSkyB and ESPN, which took over Setanta's part of the deal when they ran out of funds, to show 138 games a season at a combined cost of 1.782 billion pounds.
Under the deal, United earned more than 60 million pounds from television last season - a combination of fees for having its matches shown live, and prize money based upon league position.
Ferguson said he found the schedule very demanding especially on weeks when his troops were involved in European action.
"When you shake hands with the devil you have to pay the price," he said.
"Television is God at the moment.
"It shows itself quite clearly because when you see the fixture lists come out now, they can pick and choose whenever they want the top teams on television.
"You get some ridiculous situations when you're playing on Wednesday night in Europe and then at lunchtime the following Saturday.
"You ask any manager if they would pick that themselves and there'd be no chance."
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