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Top clubs consider overseas games

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The English Premier League is considering the idea of staging some matches around the rest of the world.

At a meeting in London on Thursday, all 20 clubs agreed to explore a proposal to extend the season to 39 games.

Those 10 extra games would be played at five different venues, with cities bidding for the right to stage them.

It is understood the additional fixtures could be determined by a draw but that the top-five teams could be seeded to avoid playing each other.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore told BBC Sport: "I think it's an idea whose time has come. It's an exciting prospect.

We believe that an 'international round' of matches will enhance the strength of the Barclays Premier League as a competition

Richard Scudamore

Premier League chief executive

"It's an extra game, it's is not taking anybody's game away, and it includes all 20 clubs which is very important. All 20 clubs will benefit and there is a huge element of solidarity about it.

"When the league does well, other people in the football family do well in terms of redistribution. We feel it is a very positive thing.

"You can't stand still and if we don't do this then somebody else is going to do it, whether it be football or another sport. Therefore it's trying to ride the crest of that wave at the same as protecting what is good and great about what we do.

"Every time there is an evolutionary step, the reaction of the fans is not always great but I would ask them to take a step back and look at the positives."

The Football Association has given its provisional support to the plans.

"We understand the reasons for this proposals and the benefits it can bring to English football as a whole," said an FA source.

A final decision on the proposals will not be made until January 2009.

The main aspects of the plans are:

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An additional round of Premier League fixtures, extending the season to 39 games, from January 2011

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Four clubs to travel to one of five host cities, with two games taking place in each venue over a weekend

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Cities would bid for the right to become a host, not for individual matches

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Points earned from the games would count towards the final Premier League table

Scudamore added that "there is much more detail to follow which we will work on over the next 12 months".

Cities in Asia, Middle East and North America are likely to show a strong interest in hosting the extra games.

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose says the Premier League's decision to explore such a move is a "logical" one.

"The growth of the Premier League has been impressive in the last 15 years thanks to the sale of television rights in this country," he said.

"But now the market in the United Kingdom is becoming saturated and it is the overseas market which is now the big target area."

This is a chance for the Premier League to showcase its product around the world

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose

The Premier League's income from the sale of overseas TV rights has already increased from £178m in 2001 to £625m for the current deal that runs until 2010.

Broadcaster NowTV paid around £100m for the rights to Hong Kong alone.

Premier League games are broadcast to over 600m homes in 202 countries worldwide, while an estimated 1bn people watched the Premier League game between Arsenal and Manchester United in November 2007.

A number of top-flight clubs already play matches around the world as they seek to capitalise on the huge global interest in the English game.

Manchester United are regular visitors to Asia, Middle East and America while other clubs are beginning to follow their lead.

"This is a chance for the Premier League to showcase its product around the world," added Bose.

"Some fans may feel aggrieved, but their concerns will be outweighed in the eyes of the clubs by the financial advantages.

"The clubs will see this as a chance to make more money so they can invest in new facilities and better players."

There is also likely to be a big scramble for the right to host the extra games.

"It will be like cities bidding for the Olympic Games or the World Cup," explained Bose.

The Premier League's proposal mirrors moves in other sports, notably American Football.

Miami Dolphins and New York Giants met at Wembley in October, the first competitive NFL game outside the Americas.

"Globalisation is a challenge for all sports because the whole world seems to be interested in the very best of sport wherever it comes from," added Scudamore.

"Through modern media exposure there is a globalisation and we need to do something to make sure we are at the forefront of that and making sure we turn that into positive benefits for the game at all levels in this country."

Scudamore also defended the claim that taking away the principle of teams playing each other twice, home and away, removes the league's fairness.

"There is a perfect symmetry to our league but that is not the same thing as saying it is fair," he said.

"The clubs will know in advance what the rules are, there will be a draw and these matches will not be anyone's home or away games.

"There are a lot of things that will be done to make it as fair as you can make it. This is not a challenge to the integrity of the competition."

Government has reservations about Premier League's plans to go global

· Every team to play in 'international round'

· Supporters demand proposal is scrapped

· FA lends its support to plans

Paul Kelso and Mike Adamson

Thursday February 7, 2008

Guardian Unlimited

Guardian Unlimited understands there are serious reservations in the government about the Premier League's plan to take matches overseas for the first time from the 2011 season. Ministers will not at this stage oppose the audacious proposal to extend the season from 38 games to 39 to allow every club to play one extra match abroad every year, but they are not convinced that the move is in football's best interests and there are concerns around supporters, sporting integrity and the impact upon other national leagues and competitions.

The league and the chairmen of its 20 clubs unanimously agreed to further explore the proposal in London today, and the FA has also reacted positively to the move having been briefed before this morning's meeting. Should the deal go ahead, the 10 overseas games are expected to take place in January providing space can be found in the calendar, with points awarded for the extra match in the normal way. The top five sides are likely to be seeded so that they do not meet each other, but otherwise the fixtures will be drawn out of a hat and played in cities around the world.

"The international round is an exciting and innovative proposal that needs careful consideration before being introduced," said the Premier League's chief executive, Richard Scudamore. "However, this concept recognises the truly global appeal of the Barclays Premier League while understanding that the traditions of the English game have always underpinned our success.

"We believe that an international round of matches will enhance the strength of the Premier League as a competition; create extra interest in all 20 Premier League clubs at home and abroad; and allow increased investment in talent development and acquisition, facilities, as well as our football development and community programmes. The globalisation of sport is both an opportunity and a challenge; one that needs addressing in a responsible way. We are a better competition for being a cosmopolitan league and have benefitted from our increased international reach. None the less, it is critical we retain our English character by improving our efforts to produce homegrown talent, deepening our commitment to community engagement and continuing our investment in the grassroots."

The league appears intent on trying to appease supporters by extending the season rather than reducing the number of games in England, but there is certain to be a degree of anger among fans at matches being played away from domestic grounds.

"We challenge the Premier League to scrap these plans if the majority of football fans in this country don't want matches to be played abroad," the Football Supporters' Federation chairman, Malcolm Clarke, said. "The FSF has no doubt whatsoever that the vast majority of supporters are against this, and believe it would drag the Premier League into the realms of farce. When this ludicrous idea was first mooted in October last year, we ran a poll here on our website and a huge majority of supporters - 80% who took the trouble to vote - were in complete opposition to this.

"Are we going to see local derbies played in a foreign country thousands of miles away? Are supporters supposed to accept missing the biggest games of their season because it's being played on the other side of the planet? Let's face facts, the sole motivation for this is the Premier League to make more money - aren't they making enough already? This displays a complete disregard for the proud traditions of the English game as well as a crass lack of consideration for football supporters in general."

The FA backed the proposal in a statement this afternoon, but will ensure the overseas matches would not impact on Cup or England games. "We understand the Premier League's desire to raise interest in English football around the world," read the statement. "We look forward to discussing the detail with the league and looking carefully at the implications, to ensure that the proposal fits well alongside the existing fixture list, including our domestic cup and league competitions and our national team games. We know that the Premier League are equally conscious of these issues."

Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Miami and Shanghai are among potential venues for the first scheduled matches in 2011, while other cities will bid for the right to stage games in following seasons. Five cities would be chosen each year, with each venue hosting matches on consecutive days. A certain number of games are likely to be played in third world nations, with the Premier League keen to use football as a development tool.

Cities will also be asked to auction for the TV rights for the games, with the initiative not starting until the current TV deal expires in 2011. Commercially the opportunities for the Premier League are enormous - its income from the sale of overseas TV rights has already increased from £178m in 2001 to £625m for the current deal, while an estimated 1 billion people around the world watched Arsenal's match with Manchester United last November. The majority of Premier League clubs already embark on annual pre-season overseas tours to tap into burgeoning markets such as south-east Asia, the Middle East and the United States.

With the influx of foreign businessmen to the Premier League - nine top-flight clubs are owned by overseas owners, including Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea - it has long been thought that league matches would eventually be taken outside England. The league is following the example of the top American leagues, the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, the first three having all staged games in London last October, the latter having previously played regular-season baseball games in Tokyo.

Before this year's Super Bowl, the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell approved a plan to host a game in the UK every year until 2010, and confirmed that the Buffalo Bills would be playing an annual regular season game in Toronto from next season. There is a lot of speculation about the NFL's long-term plans for expansion abroad, but in particular there have been whispers that the NFL may be considering expanding to a 17-game season, in which every team plays eight home games and eight away games (as they do now), and then one extra game outside of the United States, with obvious similarities to the Premier League's proposal.

An audacious and depressing voyage to the end of the earth

The Premier League's plans to go global will surely only entrench further the top-flight's money-making oligarchies

Sean Ingle

February 7, 2008 3:47 PM

Today's news that the Premier League plans to literally go to the ends of the earth to wring every last cent out of its product is at once audacious and depressing, inevitable and sad. Come 2010-11, the Premier League season is likely to be extended to 39 matches, thus allowing every team to play an additional game overseas in January. These won't be exhibitions either: teams will be drawn out of pots, points awarded, fates potentially decided on some foreign field in front of transient, happy-snappy fans.

The immediate reaction of most UK football supporters to these proposals will be outright horror. The flaws are certainly legion. Is it fair that one team will face Manchester United three times, while others play them only twice? Is it right that the top five sides may be seeded to avoid meeting each other? And is it ever right that all the sorrow and suffering, glory and pain of a league season could be affected by the whims of a spinning tombola at Premier League HQ?

The clubs are said to be "enthusiastic" about these proposals. You bet they are. As their squads romp and roast their way around Rio de Janeiro or Beijing or whichever city gets the right to host a Premier League match, they will be coining in cash from TV, advertising and sponsorship, as well as jet-boosting their brand further into the stratosphere. This afternoon government ministers expressed "concern" that the plans aren't in football's best interests. But, crucially, there is no outright opposition, no this-far-and-no-further statements of intent. One wonders what the new culture secretary Andy Burnham, who in 2004 attacked the "the unpleasant stink around the modern game", makes of the news. So far he's not saying.

The Premier League has its counterstrikes ready. It claims the additional money the clubs make will be ploughed back into English football (although we all know what happened to its lofty launch ambitions to advance the cause of the England team) and - not unreasonably - that its duty is to take its product to a global fanbase. Fans might still squabble about whether the Premier League is the best in the world, but it is certainly the richest. This is about keeping it that way.

And these days the competition cuts across sports too. With the NFL, NBA and NHL going global, the Premier League believes football must do the same. Before this year's Super Bowl, the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell approved a plan to host a game in the UK every year until 2010, and there are whispers that the NFL may expand to a 17-game season to allow every team to play an extra game outside of the US. Sound familiar?

As familiar, perhaps, as the sight of seeing Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool at the top of the league. It's amazing to think that, only 15 years ago, when Manchester United won the first Premier League title, Aston Villa finished second, Norwich third, Blackburn fourth and QPR fifth. Since then, the quality of English league football has soared, but the competition has become as predictable as a Steven Seagal movie. It's always the usual suspects, the same faces, familar outcomes. These proposals will surely only entrench the status quo, the same money-making oligarchies. The biggest clubs will attract the biggest TV rights deals, ergo they are likely to have the financial clout to keep winning the most trophies.

Sadly, this is the way of modern football. Not so very long ago, Kofi Annan claimed that "arguing against globalisation is like arguing against the laws of gravity." The implication was clear: kick and flap and scream all you like, gravity will always win. Today's news provides further evidence that he was right.

Ich könnt gleich kotzen.

Edited by ianrush

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+' date='07 Feb 2008, 23:18 ' post='1847036']

go on and find out!

und natuerlich nicht verwechseln mit den QPR

Leihen ja mittlerweile auch schon Profis aus und die Manager werden auch bezahlt. Eine reine Amateurmannschaft ist das auch nimmer.

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war irgendwie abzusehen, dass das kommt, schon in diesem sommer wurde ja von der liga die Barclay's Asia Tour organisiert, wo Fulham, Liverpool und Portsmouth in Singapur (?) ein turnier ausgespielt haben. die TV-rechte dafür waren im paket für die regulären PL-rechte bereits enthalten, wie man an der Premiere-übertragung sehen konnte.

die russische liga wollte ja auch spiele in London austragen und auch das italienische supercupfinale wurde glaub ich vor ein paar jahren in Tripolis gespielt.

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die russische liga wollte ja auch spiele in London austragen und auch das italienische supercupfinale wurde glaub ich vor ein paar jahren in Tripolis gespielt.

Im Jahr darauf wurde dann das Supercup Match zwischen Juve und Milan im Giants Stadium, New Jersey gespielt.

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Leihen ja mittlerweile auch schon Profis aus und die Manager werden auch bezahlt. Eine reine Amateurmannschaft ist das auch nimmer.

natuerlich, es waere auch verwegen zu denken, dass sie sonst dort sind wo sie sind, alleine durch den Hampdon Park gibts einnahmen wenn auch ueber ne Gesellschaft. Trotzdem find ich diese Mannschaft bzw. dessen Fuehrung beachtlich und vorbildlich - ihre Geschichte in gewisser Weise einzigartig und ihr Motto sehr inspirierend. Auch wenn nicht mehr alles golden ist, was golden scheint.

Für mich ist die Liga schon seit langem sportlich tot.

sportlich halte ich hier fuer das falsche Wort

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Ich gar nicht, weil es eben nicht mehr um Sport geht, sondern nur mehr um Geld.

Profisport eben. ;)

Solang noch traditionelles Inventar wie Geschichte und Vereinsfarben etc... erhalten bleiben, Vereine nicht die Stadt wechseln etc... also das Franchising nicht den Fussball befällt, sind mir die meisten privaten Financiers eher egal, ob jetzt Gönner oder Profiteure oder einfach fussballahnungslose mit zuviel Geld.

Lass mir eventuell 1,2 "Heimspiele" pro Saison in Asien, Australien, Afrika oder Amerika der vom Interesse und Marketing längst schon globalisierten Vereine wie Manchester United, Arsenal oder Liverpool einreden, wenns nicht nur des Geldes wegen ist. Aber dieses "Game 39" mit der ausgelosten Runde ist zu offensichtlich und nebenbei sportlich schwerstens unfair. United in Kuala Lumpur gegen Derby während Arsenal in Auckland Chelsea empfängt. :super:

Edited by chrimissimo

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# 7277

ok, also circa 300 einträge in 120 minuten. sagen wir mal 100 für eine stunde. ab 2010 solls los gehen mit game 39. ich nehm jetzt mal 1 jahr protest an. ergibt dann:

365x2400 = 876,000 einträge. najo.

Edited by chrimissimo

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