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Pep's moan about the fixture list is a bit rich but change badly needed

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola came out with a suggestion this week that the League Cup in England should be axed as clubs are being asked to play too many games.

I always find it strange that the clubs who complain about too many games, about the fixture list, then go off to China and Japan and all over the world to play games in pre-season.

They actively seek out games and fly thousands of miles to play them, but yet they don't want to play cup matches in England.

City play Fulham in the FA Cup this weekend and maybe Guardiola feels the same way about the FA Cup.

Travel

If those clubs knocked all the pre-season trips to China on the head, they wouldn't have as many games to play in a season, wouldn't have as much travel.

So maybe they should lay off the world tours before they give up on the cups.

The FA Cup might not be of vital importance to the likes of Manchester City, but it's a financial lifeline for all the lower league clubs. You have teams like Oxford and Shrewsbury playing Premier League teams, and the money from those ties, and from Cup runs, is vital to those clubs.

The authorities in English football haven't made it easy for themselves with all the changes they have made, especially in the FA Cup, over the last few years.

The FA Cup was something different when I was a kid, even when I started playing, there was more of a focus about it.

I don't think it's healthy or positive to have the FA Cup games this weekend being played on Friday night, Saturday lunchtime, Saturday evening, Sunday and Monday night.

You could see a time when the big clubs will just pull out of the FA Cup, or maybe the League Cup, as Guardiola has hinted, and take the punishments that comes their way - they can afford any fine that the FA impose on them for not playing.

Even the fans of Premier League teams are losing interest in the FA Cup as it's so scattered, so spread out.

If they brought it back to basics: a 3.0pm kick-off on a Saturday afternoon, maybe two games on a Sunday, but with no replays, games going straight to penalties, that could save the competitions.

Deny

I know that would deny clubs, the likes of Shrewsbury, a replay against a Premier League team but it would be a nod towards the demands of the Premier League teams and if there was even the possibility of a Champions League slot going to the FA Cup winners, that could help.

People might get excited about the FA Cup again. It would be terrible to see English football losing the cups completely as they are so important to the history of the game, but if they don't change the way things are done, the FA Cup and the League Cup will be in trouble as long as the likes of Pep Guardiola complain about them.