Manchester United’s Europa League Final opponents, Villareal, have been given a fixture advantage ahead of the Wednesday 26th of May match in Gdansk. The Spanish club’s director, Fernando Roig Negueroles, put media pressure on La Liga officials, citing a ‘lack of respect’, to have their final league game against Real Madrid pushed back from Sunday 23rd to Saturday 22nd. And the La Liga bosses decided the Eurovision Song Contest on the Saturday evening was also a valid reason to have the game brought further forward to a 5pm kick-off instead of the usual 8pm slot, to avoid a broadcast clash.
United, on the other hand, have not received the same accommodation from the Premier League and their league fixture, away to Wolverhampton Wanderers, remains as planned for Sunday 23rd at 4pm.
It means that the La Liga side, who are unable to qualify for next season’s Champions League via their league position, will have an extra day’s rest and preparation for the final, the winner of which qualifies for the Champion’s League.
It comes after United had played four games in eight days earlier in the month due to the Liverpool fixture being rescheduled after fans protested the Glazers’ ownership and their involvement in the European Super League plans.
In the fixture pile-up, United’s captain, Harry Maguire, suffered an ankle ligament injury that leaves him in doubt for his and manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s, first chance at silverware at the club.
The Premier League want all final round fixtures to take place at the same time on Sunday to maintain the integrity of the competition.