• Premier League

Benitez wants fixture overhaul

ESPN staff
April 12, 2013

Rafa Benitez has called for an overhaul of the number of fixtures in both club and international football, but feels that the game could do without extreme changes to technology.

Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City will mark the 59th match of his Chelsea team's season, and Benitez feels it is an avoidable situation. While calling for club competitions to be surveyed, he also reopened the debate on whether minor nations should have to pre-qualifiy.

The comments follow Manchester City boss Roberto Martinez's calls for a winter break.

"There are too many games in a season," Benitez said. "I will not say international or which games but they are playing too many games a season, yes.

When asked what could be done to resolve the problem, the Spaniard added: "Reducing the number of games, simple. You have too many games, so you have to check the competitions and maybe reduce some of them.

"I think, to see a game when you win 8-0 at international level is not an amazing experience for anyone. I think you have to have a Group A, the top sides in Europe, and Group B, if they do well, they can go to Group A, and have less games.

"I feel for the teams that are not at the top level and it's an opportunity but at the same time it's a lot of groups. When I was younger, a long time ago, you had less games, less teams and normally we were playing Spain, Italy, Germany, France or England. You want to play against the other teams. If you were good enough, you cope, so they have the divisions. In England, in Spain, in Germany, you have first division."

Despite calls for modernisation in that sense, though, Benitez does not feel the spread of technology in terms of referees' decisions is necessarily a good thing. With the Premier League set to introduce hawk-eye for borderline goal-line incidents in 2013-14, the Spaniard does not feel it would suit every on-pitch issue.

"I think you need to give some help to the referees. That is part of the game," Benitez added. "I don't see a control, advantage to every single thing and to stop the game all the time to analyse things. We have to carry on and do things quicker. Give the referee more options to do their job well but mistakes are part of the game."

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