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Premier League agrees Asia link

Premier League chief Richard Scudamore
Scudamore wants to help Asian football at grassroots level

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam have agreed plans for a link-up.

The organisations will work together at administrative and club-to-club level to forge closer links between the pair.

The move is seen as increasing the possibility of the Premier League playing a 39th game in Asia.

Bin Hammam said: "This is the first time for a league and a confederation to join forces."

He was a critic of the Premier League's plans to play an extra game abroad, but the forming of a co-operative relationship is regarded as the latest softening in his stance.

Bin Hammam added: "We had many questions. What kind of legacy are the teams going to leave behind? Does the club just collect the money and go home or are they going to leave something behind?

"Now we know there will be benefits to Asian Football. Our fans will benefit, our youth will benefit and our coaches will benefit. They will be coming here based on our approval."

606: DEBATE

Scudamore, reflecting on the controversy caused by proposals for an extra game, said: "We had a meeting with the 20 clubs to explore the possibility of playing games abroad in a year and it created a media frenzy.

"People approached it as though teams were on a plane ready to go but it was really just the start of a process."

Scudamore revealed that the Premier League will offer its expertise to teams in Asia mostly at the grassroots level.

He said: "It will likely start with five or six clubs at an operational and coaching level. I doubt it will extend to joint commercial arrangements."

The AFC, meanwhile, will expand their Champions League from next year, increasing from 28 to 32 teams as the confederation attempts to usher in an increased level of professionalism in club football in Asia.

"We want to show some solidarity with the AFC with the relaunching of the Champions League," said Scudamore.

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see also
Bin Hammam supports 39th game
09 Oct 08 |  Football
Asia U-turn on 39th-game proposal
20 Jun 08 |  Premier League
Asia opposes Premier League plan
14 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Clubs delay '39th game' decision
06 Jun 08 |  Premier League
Fifa rejects 39th-game proposal
14 Mar 08 |  Premier League
FA rejects '39th game' proposal
21 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Top clubs consider overseas games
07 Feb 08 |  Premier League


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