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Friday, April 6, 2012
Di Matteo unhappy over scheduling

Roberto Di Matteo has accused the Football Association of ignoring Chelsea's concerns about the scheduling of their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham.

Di Matteo hit out at the FA as Chelsea officially conceded defeat in their bid to get next weekend's match at Wembley played earlier than at 18.00 BST on Sunday.

Chelsea's caretaker manager had originally been hoping to get the game moved to next Friday and was "angry and disappointed'' at learning of the late kick-off three days before the club's Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona.

He was just as irate on Friday afternoon, saying: "I'm very disappointed that common sense hasn't prevailed in this. Obviously, they didn't take into consideration anything that we said. Barca will have one more day to recover than us and it might give them a little advantage.''

Barca may also enjoy an advantage ahead of the second leg at the Camp Nou if Spanish authorities agree to bring forward their Clasico with Real Madrid from Sunday, April 22.

Di Matteo added: "Other federations are very helpful. The English federation hasn't seemed very helpful in our case.''

Liverpool will feature in the other FA Cup semi-final next Saturday because they have been given permission not to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster 24 hours later.

Chelsea felt a gesture should be made in their own case to help them in their quest for Champions League glory and wanted their match to kick-off at least five hours earlier than 18.00 BST

They argued the current start time runs the risk of rival fans taking advantage of all-day drinking laws ahead of what is a derby.

They also contended that the prospect of the match finishing after 9pm if it goes to extra-time and penalties may deter families attending, with the majority of nearby schools reopening the following day after the Easter holidays.

In addition, there are rail engineering works that day which would make getting home from Wembley more difficult for some supporters living in the south-west area of London.

The FA declined to comment on Di Matteo's views.

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