PETR CECH has blasted the Premier League over Chelsea’s rejigged trip to Brighton.
The game is to be played next Tuesday because European champions Chelsea compete at the Club World Cup in February.
Former keeper Cech is now Technical and Performance Adviser at Chelsea and reckons his players are now at risk of harm due to a fixture pile-up.
He said: "We are pushing the players now beyond their limits.
"We have a huge amount of fixtures, a huge amount of minutes for players who are also dealing with the unprecedented Covid times.
"Every hour is crucial for a player to recover and actually limit the risk of a potential injury.
"Everyone accepts we are all operating in unprecedented times.
"As a club, we are playing our part to keep everyone safe, make as many players available for selection as possible, and keep football going and the league on track, with player welfare paramount in our minds.
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"It’s a shame that doesn’t appear to have been reflected in recent decision-making around fixtures.
"We therefore found it disappointing that our Premier League match against Brighton, originally scheduled for when we are now due to participate in the club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, has been rescheduled for Tuesday 18 January when we believe there are clearly more sensible dates in that week for this fixture to be played.
"We are extremely concerned about the welfare of our players in all of this and we are puzzled why Wednesday 19 January was not considered as an alternative date seeing as this would not compromise either team as we both play our next games the following Sunday 23 January."
Chelsea failed to get a Premier League match at Wolves postponed last month when the squad was hit by Covid cases.
The rearranged game means Chelsea will play three games in eight days starting with a trip to Premier League champions Manchester City.
Cech said: "We are already fulfilling fixtures with depleted squads. Scheduling us to play three games in seven days means the players’ welfare, fitness and wellbeing will be severely compromised.
"We also find ourselves playing against an opponent in Brighton who, in comparison, only have one other match in the same seven-day period.
"This cannot be good for the integrity of the game or the competition.
"I know from my experience as a player how much difference an extra day or two can make in the recovery process.”
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