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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2008, 15:39 GMT
Global plans not dead - Scudamore
Richard Scudamore
Scudamore says the global plans must suit all footballing bodies
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore insists that plans to host games abroad are still alive despite widespread opposition.

Scudamore stressed the "39th game" proposals were in their infancy and that the FA and Fifa will be consulted.

"It's certainly not a dead duck," he told a House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee on Tuesday.

FA chairman Lord Triesman said there were a number of issues to be discussed but that it welcomed new ideas.

The Premier League unveiled its plans last Thursday to explore the possibility of playing an extra round of matches every season abroad, with all 20 clubs unanimous in support.


Since then a large number of influential football figures, domestically and internationally, have ridiculed the plans with Fifa president Sepp Blatter insisting they will never happen.

But while Scudamore acknowledged the "hostile reaction", he insisted a year-long consultation process will take place with heavy involvement from football's governing bodies.

"Clearly we are not going to take this forward if it doesn't meet with some form of acquiescence from Fifa," he said.

"Certainly the FA and Football League will have to comfortable with whatever move and direction we take.

"We have got until January 2009 to shape any proposals, to consult widely and properly, and to see how we manage to move forward with what is now a global sporting phenomenon."

FA chairman Lord Triesman backed Scudamore's explanation of the consultation process but raised a number of issues that concerned the governing body of the English game:

  • Any proposals must not damage the domestic competitions or the prospects of the national side

  • The relationship with the international bodies must also be sustained, not only because of the significant importance of the 2018 World Cup bid

  • There must be a "real sense of comfort" among the whole of football, fans included, that a proposal is viable and credible

  • The proposals must not induce any kind of unfairness which could jeopardise a club's fate

Lord Triesman said: "So far I have not heard sustainable answers to these questions but the discussion has to happen. There may at the end be very different outcomes and proposals."

If it's deemed not to be worth it we will think again about our global expansion

Richard Scudamore
Premier League chief executive

In response, Scudamore raised four "huge challenges" that the Premier League needs to address - all of which ran along the same lines as those identified by Lord Triesman.

Fixture calendars and congestion, sanctioning (and the Premier League's relationship with international bodies), the symmetry of the competition (ensuring it does not impact upon its integrity), and supporter reaction on a worldwide basis are all crucial issues, said Scudamore.

When quizzed by a committee of MPs he insisted that, in theory, the global plans could be good for the whole of English football.

"English football has benefited enormously from the collectivisation and the solidarity of its Premier League," he said.

"The interest in our club football undoubtedly generates huge interest in the FA Cup, the Football League, and the Carling Cup.

"Don't think that our success has been at the exclusion of others. Football in this country has developed together."

Admitting that the plans may not ultimately happen, Scudamore insisted that the Premier League will still seek to explore new markets.

"If it's deemed not to be worth it we will think again about our global expansion," he said.

The Premier League's consultation process starts with the FA this week, followed by a meeting with Fifa in Zurich before the end of the month.

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