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Top Clubs Consider Overseas Games


Rob.

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The English Premier League is considering playing some matches overseas, BBC Sport has learned.

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 venues around the world, 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.

It is unlikely any decision will be taken before the Premier League's annual summer meeting in June, but any changes could come into effect for the 2010/11 season.

Points from those extra games would count towards the league table.

Should the proposal get the go-ahead, cities in Asia, Middle East and North America are likely to show a strong interest in hosting the extra games.

It is believed each venue would host two matches over a weekend.

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."

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 by the advantages.

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

There is 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.

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Any opinions on this?

I'm not particurly against this idea and think it could be a really interesting venture. What worries me, however, is the fact that "points from those extra games would count towards the league table." So one team would end up having an extra game against Derby and another team would end up having an extra game against Man Utd. That's not fair at all, especially if relegation and title issues have yet to be decided.

Interesting idea, but needs some more thought before it can go ahead methinks!

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Should the proposal get the go-ahead, cities in Asia, Middle East and North America are likely to show a strong interest in hosting the extra games.

If a good correlation is taken into consideration Nigeria would be among first 5 nations that follow up the English premier league. I think Africa can be considered as a major region for this plan.

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What exactly do you have against it? The fact that these are actual league matches? The problem that I've mentioned above about the unfairness of a random draw? Or are you opposed to it becuase you just don't think the PL should be doing this sort of thing?

Would you, just an example, be supportive of Faster's idea of picking 10 cities every year and having 2 two games at the start of the season that doesn't count towards the table: in effect organising a "Premier League pre-season world tour" rather than letting each team get on with it on their own?

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I think it's a good idea. Although I don't think there should be any extra games (there need to be fewer rather than more) - perhaps if the first two games of the season were the same two teams playing twice. For example, Newcastle and Liverpool play both their 'home' and 'away' fixtures at the foreign ground and then don't meet in the Premiership again until the following season.

I heard some fans complaining about the fact that it would be so expensive to follow their teams to Shanghai, Sydney or San Francisco - but they are missing the point. These games aren't intended for domestic fans who have 20 or so other games to attend, theses are intended for the many avid followers of the Premiership around the world who wouldn't otherwise have the chance to attend a game.

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What exactly do you have against it? The fact that these are actual league matches? The problem that I've mentioned above about the unfairness of a random draw? Or are you opposed to it becuase you just don't think the PL should be doing this sort of thing?

Would you, just an example, be supportive of Faster's idea of picking 10 cities every year and having 2 two games at the start of the season that doesn't count towards the table: in effect organising a "Premier League pre-season world tour" rather than letting each team get on with it on their own?

There are so many things that I don't like about this idea that I'm struggling to know where to begin, quite apart from it being another step closer to pulling up the drawbridge on the rest of the game entirely.

On the sporting level, you've already hit the nail on the head. Is it fair that the title, a European place or even a relegation issue could be settled in this extra game? Of course it isn't. On one hand, what is being proposed is slightly better than the 'Millennium Magic' thing they do in rugby league. But, even then, it is still a step too far. Why should, for the sake of argument, Tottenham miss out on a place in Europe because they're unlucky enough to pull out Manchester United in this random 39th game when performances over the first 38 were good enough? It's not right.

But this goes deeper than that. There is a clear and blatant hypocrisy in this. We hear so much talk when it suits about fixture congestion and how the clubs shouldn't have to release players for the African Nations and other internationals. And now they want to extend the season and play a game ten thousand miles away to make a few quid? Doesn't that just show how wrong priorities are.

And let's be realistic about this. Are people really going to want to watch Bolton v Reading in Hong Kong or Chicago? They're going to want to see Manchester United v Arsenal or Chelsea or whatever. Where does it end? People get a taste for it and they'll want more and more and more.

As I said before, pre-season tours and tournaments are a different issue. If clubs want to go and play some pre-season games wherever, that's up to them. But I can't see Faster's suggestion, as laudable as it is, being workable in practice. Again, who wants to see Bolton and Reading?

And not only that, but what about the local leagues? Do they really want us stamping all over their territory? I know this is only the early stages of the idea, but I'm far from convinced this has been thought through properly. The overwhelming reaction, from what I've read since this news broke, has been against. That doesn't surprise me in the least and the authorities would do well to listen to some common sense instead of looking for their next few million for a change.

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There are so many things that I don't like about this idea that I'm struggling to know where to begin, quite apart from it being another step closer to pulling up the drawbridge on the rest of the game entirely.

On the sporting level, you've already hit the nail on the head. Is it fair that the title, a European place or even a relegation issue could be settled in this extra game? Of course it isn't. On one hand, what is being proposed is slightly better than the 'Millennium Magic' thing they do in rugby league. But, even then, it is still a step too far. Why should, for the sake of argument, Tottenham miss out on a place in Europe because they're unlucky enough to pull out Manchester United in this random 39th game when performances over the first 38 were good enough? It's not right.

But this goes deeper than that. There is a clear and blatant hypocrisy in this. We hear so much talk when it suits about fixture congestion and how the clubs shouldn't have to release players for the African Nations and other internationals. And now they want to extend the season and play a game ten thousand miles away to make a few quid? Doesn't that just show how wrong priorities are.

And let's be realistic about this. Are people really going to want to watch Bolton v Reading in Hong Kong or Chicago? They're going to want to see Manchester United v Arsenal or Chelsea or whatever. Where does it end? People get a taste for it and they'll want more and more and more.

As I said before, pre-season tours and tournaments are a different issue. If clubs want to go and play some pre-season games wherever, that's up to them. But I can't see Faster's suggestion, as laudable as it is, being workable in practice. Again, who wants to see Bolton and Reading?

And not only that, but what about the local leagues? Do they really want us stamping all over their territory? I know this is only the early stages of the idea, but I'm far from convinced this has been thought through properly. The overwhelming reaction, from what I've read since this news broke, has been against. That doesn't surprise me in the least and the authorities would do well to listen to some common sense instead of looking for their next few million for a change.

It's possible all or some of the problems you've mentioned could completely undermine the idea and make it a non-starter. The fact that they're even suggesting a lottery for your final oppoenents in the season suggest to me this is an idea that's only just been floated and no real meat has been put on the bones yet: it sounds as though the BBC have caught wind of this earlier than the PL would have liked. To answer you're question: of course I wouldn't like it if Spurs' extra game was Man Utd!

The pulling power of smaller teams could also be an issue. That'd need to be looked into in more detail. It might be the case that were this to go ahead you'd have five cities (one on each continent exclusing Europe?) with four teams in each. I don't know.

All the things you've brought up could scupper the idea and there are things that need looking at (the most obvious being the lottery of the opponents in the extra game). It might not work at all in practice but I'm not sure in principle I really have anything against an overseas game.

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The Premier League moneymen? Why is there always this implicit suggestion that anything or anyone that brings money into the game is necessarily an evil that must be resisted at all costs?

As for where the line should be drawn, I don't know exactly. I do know everything has to be assessed based on its merits and its problems. I happen to think that if the practical problems are worked out, the benifits could outweigh the disadvantages in this particular case. And when I'm talking of benifits, I'm not just talking in terms of £££ although obviously that does come into it as well.

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There a is right excuse to this great idealism coming from the premier league body. I wholeheartedly want to see Asernal, Man United, Chelsea, Middleborough,tottenham,everton,etc play live matches in my country.

However, we should see this as an innovative idea and most be practically tried in countries where English premier league have much fans to know how affirmative it can be.

I agree, to be actively mobile, it's a great contribution to the English premier league .

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The Premier League moneymen? Why is there always this implicit suggestion that anything or anyone that brings money into the game is necessarily an evil that must be resisted at all costs?

As for where the line should be drawn, I don't know exactly. I do know everything has to be assessed based on its merits and its problems. I happen to think that if the practical problems are worked out, the benifits could outweigh the disadvantages in this particular case. And when I'm talking of benifits, I'm not just talking in terms of £££ although obviously that does come into it as well.

Because they're not in it for the good of the sport as a whole. They're in it for themselves. I doubt it wasn't just me that saw the sick irony of this nonsense being announced on the very day that Bournemouth went into administration with debts a fraction of what this nonsense could generate.

There is only one benefit to this and that is to line the pockets of the Premier League and its clubs. Oliver Holt has it right in the Mirror today - a whore on the street has more honour. It's time to fight back.

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Maybe I am, Faster, and if I am I make no apology for it whatsoever. You see, I care about the whole of English football. Remember, this isn't just the Premier League it impacts upon. It makes the gap between the haves and have nots even wider. It distorts competition in the next league down in particular, because of the vast chasm between the finances of the Premier League and the Championship. It's not a franchise based game like the NFL taking games to Wembley or wherever. It is the upper echelon of our national game selling the last piece of its soul for a few more pounds and I detest it. So why should we ordinary fans just roll over and accept it? If I've had enough, as a supporter of a fourth division club, how do you think a regular follower of a Premier League club feels?

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Maybe I am, Faster, and if I am I make no apology for it whatsoever. You see, I care about the whole of English football. Remember, this isn't just the Premier League it impacts upon. It makes the gap between the haves and have nots even wider. It distorts competition in the next league down in particular, because of the vast chasm between the finances of the Premier League and the Championship. It's not a franchise based game like the NFL taking games to Wembley or wherever. It is the upper echelon of our national game selling the last piece of its soul for a few more pounds and I detest it. So why should we ordinary fans just roll over and accept it? If I've had enough, as a supporter of a fourth division club, how do you think a regular follower of a Premier League club feels?

Idealistic little sports fan aren't we?

Sport is about money and big business. The Premier League teams are the biggest around and unless the FA is willing to impose player expenditure limits and foreign born player quotas there will always be a disparity between the bigger clubs in the major cities with large fan bases and those that do not. And the FA can't impose those kind of measures because it will just serve to lower the quality of football overall by making the big teams spend less, lose good players to higher paying positions in Spain, Italy and Germany and overall make the quality of football that much worse and take the prestige out of the Premier League and make it less premier.

Money and sport go hand in hand, its a fact of life.

Think about it this way, there are millions of people that watch the Premiership outside of England every week, pay large amounts of money to do so, that fills the coffers of the FA and the teams, yet the teams give precious little in return. The number of exhibition games being played in NA is considerably lower then it was just 5 years ago. The only team to come to Canada was West Ham and it played Toronto's team to a crowd that payed at least 150 dollars a ticket to see the struggling and starless West Ham.

I think if the FA picked four teams, say Manchester United vs Tottenham and sent them to Tokyo for ManU's game and Shanghai for Tottenham's and sent Chelsae vs. Liverpool to Toronto and Boston or New York and had their home and aways played foreign, it wouldn't be that bad and would expose more people to the game and make the game more accessible. In 2009 send them to Johannesburg and Cape Town and Sydney and Auckland. Its only 4 games and I am sure the players would be perfectly happy to be able to have a new experience and show the game off in different quarters of the world.

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They can as well send them to Lagos and Abuja. There are large English premier league fans based there too. I think this will go along way to appreciate their fans of which am one of them.

Awerb has often be restrictive in dealing with any English and forgeting that England has done alot to change the face of the world in the past and the impact are still lingering even centuries to come. English belongst to us all now not you alone, Awerb. Just learn to understand that one.

Thank you.

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Who the hell are you two to tell me not to care about the sport I love being destroyed? You don't watch the World Premier League every week. You watch the ENGLISH Premier League and you'd do well to remember that. The responsibility of English Premier League clubs, first and foremost, is to their English supporters. First, last, always. Would Serie A or La Liga contemplate anything like this? Of course they wouldn't. They can see the disgrace that this is. Shame Scudamore and the rest of the pound chasers can't.

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Who the hell are you two to tell me not to care about the sport I love being destroyed? You don't watch the World Premier League every week. You watch the ENGLISH Premier League and you'd do well to remember that. The responsibility of English Premier League clubs, first and foremost, is to their English supporters. First, last, always. Would Serie A or La Liga contemplate anything like this? Of course they wouldn't. They can see the disgrace that this is. Shame Scudamore and the rest of the pound chasers can't.

I am not tell you not to care, quote me where I said this.

You are completely making a mountain out of mole hill here, its not gonna be the end of the world or the end of football in England.

You need to deal with your little hang-ups. Sport and Money is always going to go hand-in-hand, from the very beginning of sport money has played a roll. To dismiss this is utterly stupid and unbelievably ignorant on your part, without money you wouldn't have the Premier League, the Championship, the FA Cup or your precious little podunk 4th division team. Money makes the world go round.

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And there we come to the heart of the matter. You don't care about English football whatsoever. To dismiss the concerns of millions of ordinary fans like me so readily and without any consideration for our views just sums up the complete arrogance of this idea.

This is not "making a mountain out of a mole-hill". This is not a "hang-up". This is too much. On the sporting level, it is taking the normal, proper League structure and turning it into part lottery. There is a basic unfairness in that that any sports fan with the remotest levels of intelligence can see.

Money makes the world go round, does it? I'll tell you what money's doing - it's destroying our national game. The Premier League is a contributory factor to why so many clubs in the lower leagues have suffered financial problems in recent years. The Premier League is a contributory factor to why the England team is failing. The Premier League, with its greedy, never satisfied money demands, is the single worst thing to have ever happened to English football. And you expect us ordinary fans to accept it, Faster? Well I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I will never accept it. The day this happens is the day I stop watching Premier League football.

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And there we come to the heart of the matter. You don't care about English football whatsoever. To dismiss the concerns of millions of ordinary fans like me so readily and without any consideration for our views just sums up the complete arrogance of this idea.

This is not "making a mountain out of a mole-hill". This is not a "hang-up". This is too much. On the sporting level, it is taking the normal, proper League structure and turning it into part lottery. There is a basic unfairness in that that any sports fan with the remotest levels of intelligence can see.

Money makes the world go round, does it? I'll tell you what money's doing - it's destroying our national game. The Premier League is a contributory factor to why so many clubs in the lower leagues have suffered financial problems in recent years. The Premier League is a contributory factor to why the England team is failing. The Premier League, with its greedy, never satisfied money demands, is the single worst thing to have ever happened to English football. And you expect us ordinary fans to accept it, Faster? Well I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I will never accept it. The day this happens is the day I stop watching Premier League football.

Firstly, I do not support the idea of a extra game.

Secondly, I do not think that regular season games should be played outside of the main venues of the league (that goes for sports in North America as well)

I feel that giving exhibition games to cities outside of England, like has been done before with tours of the major European teams, is not a bad idea. It does not effect league play and does give back something to the millions of fans outside of England in North America, Asia and Oceania.

Also, yes the Premiership does have an impact on the national team, the clubs are not willing to spend the money and footballing schools like there is in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. But you can not just blame the clubs because there is a lot of mismanagement on the part of the FA.

Do English clubs buy too many foreign players and not give more chances to local players, yea pretty much. I believe it has the lowest home born players out of the major European leagues.

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Firstly, I do not support the idea of a extra game.

Secondly, I do not think that regular season games should be played outside of the main venues of the league (that goes for sports in North America as well)

Well if I may be frank, you'd make a damn fine apologist for the Premier League given your previous comments. You ought to send your CV into Richard Scudamore sharpish.

I feel that giving exhibition games to cities outside of England, like has been done before with tours of the major European teams, is not a bad idea. It does not effect league play and does give back something to the millions of fans outside of England in North America, Asia and Oceania.

I've never said I have a problem with that. What did stick in my throat, however, was the other week when Manchester United went to play a friendly in Saudi Arabia in the middle of the season. And managers have the nerve to whinge about fixture congestion.

Also, yes the Premiership does have an impact on the national team, the clubs are not willing to spend the money and footballing schools like there is in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. But you can not just blame the clubs because there is a lot of mismanagement on the part of the FA.

I don't seek to 'just blame the clubs'. I've been very critical of the FA in the past, particularly in the aftermath of our failure to qualify for the European Championship. But there is no doubt that Premier League clubs are not bringing through the numbers and quality of young English players that came through in the past. And those that do show promise are, more often that not, not being given the opportunities to play in the Premier League. Let me re-emphasise - the Premier League's main responsibility is, or at least should be, to English football. I believe several, if not a majority, of clubs have abdicated that responsibility for too long.

Do English clubs buy too many foreign players and not give more chances to local players, yea pretty much. I believe it has the lowest home born players out of the major European leagues. [/quote

The last figures I heard certainly bore that out. Now, I know the old argument in this area and I understand that clubs will be reluctant to buy one English player when they could potentially buy three or four foreign players for the same sort of money. But, look at it from the point of view of the lower league club who slaps the big price tag on their most prized player. My own team has a very promising young defender who, if the newspapers are to be believed, is attracting attention from some of the biggest clubs in the country. Now, I wouldn't be at all surprised if, in time, a hefty price tag is put on him. Clubs only do that, because they have to get the finance they need to keep going in wherever they possibly can and until the Premier League clubs in general look within rather without, that practice will continue and the problem, I fear, will get worse.

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I had no idea about the ManU game and yes that is utterly stupid, especially considering the complaining about releasing players for the African Cup of Nations.

I do not support any of the major British teams, nor do I generally support the Premier League in general.

The game is moving outside of Europe, but the main leagues to develop players are still in Europe. Argentina and Brazil are powers amongst football, yet where do most of their players play, Europe.

I do think England's biggest problem is that they do not have the developmental parts to their clubs like in France and Germany. Clubs like Marseilles and Monaco in France, Berman, Hamburg and others in Germany, even Bayern send millions of Euros on development of players and look at the international success they have had in the last two decades. Italy and Spain are the same way.

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If it becomes a reality, to me it's among the best things that have happened to the English premier league despite somebody is more than disagreeing with the concept.

One thing is for sure as Faster has said, "Sport and Money is always going to go hand-in-hand, from the very beginning of sport money has played a roll" and Engslish premier league is world wide fans based also.

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If this is such a good thing, then I would be interested to hear your reasoning as to why the football authorities in Europe, Asia and the United States have all already come out against this idea. Clearly they don't think this is a good idea, so your implication that this is my sole crusade is about as far wide of the mark as a shot for goal that hits the corner flag.

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