FA CONFIRM SEMI-FINAL TIMES
The FA have announced the kick-off times for the two FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, and there will be an early start for 70,000 Merseysiders with the Liverpool v Everton match kicking off at 12.30pm on the Saturday.
Chelsea's clash against Tottenham will kick off 6pm on Sunday April 15 - 48 hours later than the Blues had pleaded for.
Interim Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo had wanted their match to be on the Friday night to give Chelsea more time to recover ahead of a possible Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona or AC Milan on Wednesday, April 18.
Those hopes have been dashed however and with ITV pushing to show the match at prime time on Sunday rather than lunchtime, the FA have decided it will start at 6pm.
That kick-off time will also avoid a clash with Manchester United's Premier League match against Aston Villa which is being screened live on Sky at 4pm.
Di Matteo believes the FA should be doing everything possible to help the Barclays Premier League's last representative in Europe.
"We are disappointed and angry as well. But we have to respect it," the interim manager said.
"Look at the federations in other countries. They give you the best possible preparation, playing even a day before rather than the day after, whether you play on Tuesday or Wednesday.
"It does make a big difference, absolutely, that 24 hours. I'm disappointed we haven't been given more support.
"This year we're looking at just one club left in the quarter-finals.
"That doesn't reflect well on England, the Premier League or the FA.
"It's in everybody's interest for English clubs to get further in the competition."
The all-London semi-final could not be on the Saturday either because Liverpool had asked not to play on the Sunday as it coincides with the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
FA sources say the timing of the Liverpool v Everton match was partly to do with engineering works on the railways later that day - if it had kicked off any later fans would have been unable to return to Merseyside by rail.
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