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Last Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 11:44 GMT
Blatter hostile to overseas plan
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The president of football's world governing body Fifa has told the BBC that plans by the Premier League to host games abroad will never happen.

Sepp Blatter also warned that the proposal could harm England's attempt to host the 2018 World Cup.

"This does not take into consideration the fans of the clubs and it gives the impression that they just want to go on tour to make some money," Blatter said.

"This will never happen, at least as long as I am the president of Fifa."

Blatter's comments, in an interview with BBC sports editor Mihir Bose, are the strongest from the governing body since the Premier League's plans were revealed last week.

Top-flight clubs will consider plans to extend the season to 39 games with the extra matches taking place overseas.

But the idea has met with resistance in Asia, Europe and fans in England.

This is abuse. The rich Premier League is trying to get richer and expand the importance of that league

Sepp Blatter
Blatter's stance effectively leave the proposals, for a round of games to take place in five different host cities from January 2011, dead in the water.

"The Premier League is richer than the others, they have more responsibility and what they are trying to do is contrary to this responsibility," he said.

"This is something I cannot understand and definitely the Fifa executive committee will not sanction such an initiative."

A Premier League spokesman said the clubs would "look forward to the opportunity to meet with Fifa in order to discuss this matter in full".

"This was always the starting point in relation to the issue of sanction for the proposed international round, and as such we will be making no comment until after that time," the spokesman added.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter
This will not have a positive impact on the bid from England for the World Cup in 2018

Sepp Blatter

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore had previously expressed his belief that Fifa could not stop the plan if the clubs receive the go-ahead from England's Football Association.

But Blatter rejected that claim.

"It is not true," he added. "Even if the FA did sanction it, all the national associations receiving these clubs would have to sanction it also. This will be very difficult.

"In addition to that, the Fifa executive committee will apply article two of the Fifa statutes: 'to prevent all methods or practices which might jeopardise the integrity of matches or competitions or give rise to abuse of association football'.

"This is abuse. The rich Premier League is trying to get richer and wants to expand the importance of that league."

There were early signs of Fifa disquiet when it was revealed the governing body had told the Premier League it could not consider the plans until the Football Association had contacted them.

It is understood the FA has held talks with Fifa and is ready to issue a statement distancing themselves from the proposals.

Blatter warned it could affect the FA's bid for the 2018 World Cup.

MIHIR BOSE BLOG
BBC sports editor Mihir Bose

"When it comes to a decision of the executive committee concerning this matter of the 39th round, and I am sure they will be against it, then it will not have a positive impact on the bid from England for the World Cup in 2018," he added.

Scudamore's plans received a mixed reaction around the world, with the heads of the Asian Football Confederation and Football Federation Australia, which could host any proposed games, rejecting the idea, while Uefa chief Michel Platini called it a "nonsense".

But the the United Arab Emirates Football Association and the Hong Kong Football Association have backed the plans.

"We have already sent an e-mail to Richard Scudamore expressing our interest," said Association chairman Brian Leung.

The proposals were also widely criticised by fans in England and Blatter said he understood their reaction.

"I support the fans 100%," he said. "If I was a fan in England I would say: 'no, please play at home and don't go and exercise your talents abroad'.

"If the plan includes official league matches then, as a fan, I would protest against this."

Fifa will examine the Premier League's proposals at its executive committee meeting on 14 March.



SEE ALSO
Does the world want Premier League?
14 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Global plan will 'distort' League
14 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Asia opposes Premier League plan
14 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Platini scorns global games plan
09 Feb 08 |  Premier League
US reluctant to host Premier ties
12 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Lamb backs '39th game' proposals
13 Feb 08 |  Middlesbrough
Top clubs consider overseas games
07 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Mixed reaction to overseas plan
08 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Pros & cons of global Premier plan
08 Feb 08 |  Premier League
What they say on overseas games
07 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Premier League going global
07 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Blatter secures third Fifa term
31 May 07 |  Football


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