AHEAD OF THE GAME: Arsenal lined up for Community Shield – EVEN if they lose to Manchester City in FA Cup semi-final
- The FA are determined to stage Community Shield at Wembley at end of August
- If City or United reach game, they may have to pull out if they’re in European final
- FA’s preferred option for alternative team is Arsenal as most successful in history
- Elsewhere, FA can’t afford Jill Ellis, their top target for the England Women’s job
The FA are determined to stage the Community Shield, the traditional season curtain-raiser between the champions and FA Cup winners, at the end of August to avoid having to pay a rebate to broadcasters and are looking at contingency plans should City or United win the Wembley final.
Arsenal last won the Community Shield back in 2017 and are being lined up for this year’s tie
Arsenal could replace Manchester City if Pep Guardiola’s side make Champions League final
If City were to reach the Champions League final on August 23 or United make it to the Europa League final two days earlier they would be unavailable to contest the Shield on the proposed date of August 30.
The FA’s preferred option if the Cup winners are unavailable is to invite the most successful club in the Shield’s history, which is Arsenal, who have lifted the trophy 15 times.
The Gunners were the last club to decline to take part in the then Charity Shield in 1971, when they arranged lucrative friendlies after winning the Double, which led to FA Cup runners-up Liverpool meeting and beating Division Two champions Leicester.
Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott lift the Shield after beating Chelsea in the 2017 edition
Burnley chairman Mike Garlick’s determination to keep a firm control of the club’s wage bill is demonstrated by the way he is playing hardball in contract negotiations with academy players.
Promising striker Max Thompson is yet to sign a new deal with Burnley and his representatives are understood to be haggling over a few hundred pounds a week.
Burnley’s parsimony has become a major source of tension between Garlick and manager Sean Dyche, who has been frustrated at the club’s failure to agree contract extensions for several players for the duration of Project Restart and is unhappy at his limited transfer budget.
Mike Garlick is playing hardball in contract negotiations with Burnley’s academy players
FA can’t afford top target
The FA have suffered a setback in their search for a successor to England women’s coach Phil Neville, with two-times World Cup-winning coach Jill Ellis pricing herself of the job.