Ralf Rangnick suggests removing Carabao Cup to help reduce aircraft congestion
Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick has suggested scrapping the Carabao Cup to ease match congestion in English football.
The national schedule is under enormous pressure, with the impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus sweeping through locker rooms and forcing postponements across the country.
United, themselves, have not played since December 11 due to their own Covid-19 outbreak and have postponed Premier League games against Brentford and Brighton.
They are set to resume action at Newcastle on Monday and interim boss Rangnick said: “It’s a great tradition in England to play on Boxing Day or the 27th, even January 30th or 2nd.
“I think we should stick to that tradition and respect it, but there might be two other issues that have been discussed in the past.
“England are the only country among the top five leagues in Europe to play two cup competitions.
“In France, they deleted the second a year or two ago, so we are the only country to play two cup competitions.
“This is something we could talk about and discuss again.
“I know that the Coupe de la Ligue is always reserved for third and fourth division teams in order to improve the financial situation of these clubs. But if we’re talking about a tight schedule and having to play too many games, that’s something to be discussed.
Rangnick praised Monday’s decision to cut reruns of the FA Cup third and fourth rounds.
Ties will now be played until they are concluded on the first attempt, with extra time and penalties if necessary.
However, the Football Association, which removed reruns of the entire competition from last season, intend to return them next year.
Regarding the removal of FA Cup reruns, Rangnick said: “It’s a good idea. In cup competitions in other countries you play extra time and penalties. You have replays, these are topics you could talk about.
United’s squad were reduced to eight fit outfielders and three goalkeepers ahead of the Covid-19 outbreak which forced their Carrington training ground to close for four days.
But Rangnick defended United’s vaccination record, insisting he was ‘high’ among his squad.
He said: “The Premier League will do everything to ensure the safety of the league, to ensure the safety of the situation around the players.
“We do this regularly and encourage players to behave in a disciplined manner when it comes to contact.
“We also have to make sure that most of the players are vaccinated. I know we have a high record of vaccinated players at our club.
“The past two weeks show that even if you’ve been vaccinated two or three times, you can still get the virus, especially the new virus.
“At least you are protected from severe symptoms, and most of our players who tested positive had very mild symptoms and did not suffer.”