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The FIFA president now weighs in against the Premier League's plans saying it could affect England's 2018 World Cup hopes!

Blatter blasts Premier League proposal

By Martyn Ziegler, PA

Friday, 15 February 2008

The FIFA president Sepp Blatter has condemned Premier League proposals to play matches overseas as "unacceptable" and an "abuse of football".

The Premier League clubs have agreed in principle to look at each playing an extra match every January in a foreign city.

Blatter though has vowed to do all he can to block the League's plans and warned that if they push ahead with the proposals it could torpedo England's bid for the 2018 World Cup.

The FIFA president's criticism follows strong opposition from UEFA counterpart Michel Platini and Asian federation chief Mohamed bin Hammam, and there is now a major doubt about whether the Premier League would even be able to find countries willing to hold the matches.

Blatter said: "To try to have additional exposure and revenue by expanding the league around the world, I think this is not acceptable.

"It will not be acceptable to the FIFA executive committee, I am sure. This will never happen - at least this will not happen as long as I am the president of FIFA.

"We have not been contacted before by the League to ask us what we think of this idea. You speak about rude but I think it is an anti-responsibility.

"If you are the most prosperous league in the world and if you accept that everyone in football has a responsibility to maintain it not only as a business, but as a game.

"Then, all of a sudden you come out with a project which only has business and money behind it."

Blatter said FIFA's statutes were clear that the matches would need the permission of the national associations of the countries where they would be staged - and that he would do all he could to block any attempt to grant that permission.

He added: "According to the statutes and regulations, it is said very clearly that if you want to play any match in a foreign territory outside the country where the teams are coming from you need the authorisation of that association.

"I will bring it to the attention of the executive committee but you can be sure that the executive committee will reject such an inapplication of the statutes.

"And I will ask the national associations in a decision taken by the executive committee not to accept such an initiative which is definitely an abuse of the game. This is definitely abuse of association football."

Blatter said he will take the controversy to FIFA's Congress if the Premier League insist on pushing ahead with their plans.

What will really worry the Football Association however Blatter's warning that the plans could affect England's bid for the 2018 World Cup.

Blatter added: "If you go against the authority of FIFA and the decision-making body which is the executive committee then you cannot expect them to be in your favour later on.

"England will not be the only World Cup bid. I cannot imagine that when you go against the deciding body for the decision on the World Cup in an initiative that will not be accepted by this body, that you will enhance your chances. It will not be diplomatic."

Blatter said he would give Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore the opportunity to state his case to FIFA but would state his views "perhaps even stronger".

He added: "Football cannot be like the Harlem globetrotters or a circus. You must keep the national identity of the clubs."

A Premier League spokesman said: "We 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 this issue of sanction of our proposed international round and as such we will be making no further comment until after that time."

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/footbal...sal-782676.html

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The FIFA president now weighs in against the Premier League's plans saying it could affect England's 2018 World Cup hopes!

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/footbal...sal-782676.html

He's afraid cos it might snatched FIFA world cup earnings.

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Now the FA (mindful of FIFA's warnings about 2018) and the Fooball Supporters' Federation have come out against these proposals. It's beginning to look like it will be a non-starter (for now anyway) as it seems to be arousing hostility from pretty nearly everybody!!

FA concerned over top-flight plan

The Football Association has told Fifa it has serious reservations over the Premier League's proposal to play additional top-flight games abroad.

It is the first official FA reaction since the Premier League floated its global plan to start in 2010-11.

The FA said it was worried the plan could damage its 2018 World Cup bid.

The FA said: "We don't want the Premier League's proposal to affect England's 2018 World Cup bid in any way. At this time, we do not believe it has."

The FA, which is due to discuss the Premier League plan on 21 Thursday, added: "We did speak to Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke about this matter on Thursday.

"We explained that while we had received a verbal summary on the subject, at this time we aren't in possession of any detailed proposals from the Premier League to pass on to Fifa.

"It was also made clear to FIFA that the Football Association has some serious reservations about the proposal."

Despite the FA's reservations, some aspects of the plan have won the support of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

He said: "First there is a desire to innovate and be the strongest league in the world and the second thing is to do something for the fans abroad." The Football Association has worked extremely hard for several years to improve our relationships and standing with FIFA and UEFA

Wenger experienced a similar plan to the Premier League's proposals during his time as a manager in Japan.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, he also cited the recent success of an NFL match at Wembley as a reason why it could work and said that people had been too quick to dismiss the idea.

"When I came to Japan in 1995 we had to play 20% of our games at a neutral ground," he added.

"At the start I thought it was completely crazy, but it worked tremendously well and games were sold out everywhere we played.

"Just look back, for example, at Wembley and everyone celebrated the Americans playing an American football game at Wembley.

"It was exactly the same idea. It's nothing different, which is why it is too early to speak against it."

But former Football Association chief executive David Davies says the Premier League's proposal is "unlikely to survive".

I think to play another game in another country is not right

Davies told BBC Radio 5 Live: "The current plan, at least as described in the public domain, is very hard to sustain - it has taken a pounding.

"There wasn't a widespread consultation and the fireworks have gone off.

"The crux of the problem is can English football act as one, or will its sectional interests break off and go in their own way?"

Davies said he expected the Premier League to revise its proposals in the face of hostility from Blatter and football federations around the globe.

"As I understand it, the plan is a work in progress but there is a perception that it is more than that," he said.

"There is a team of people within the Premier League who will look at the plan with a view to making it more acceptable.

"But the basic point is if the national associations in Asia, Africa and North America don't want these games then they can put a stop to them."

The FA wants to host the 2018 World Cup and it would be political suicide to take on Fifa on behalf of the Premier League

Davies added the Premier League could yet salvage its plan if it placed less emphasis on its commercial benefits.

"I believe there are people at the League who have more than just financial interests in all of this - they care about the future growth of football," he said.

Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has voiced his opposition to the overseas games plan, saying: "To play another game in another country is not right. You must play here in England with the same opportunities for every team."

The Football Supporters' Federation has launched a petition against the proposals on their website and are planning campaign meetings next week.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/e...rem/7246314.stm

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As I've said, in principle I'm not against a small number of games being played abroad.

But as long as the Premier League persist in this stupid 39th game idea, I can't support it. The fairness of the league system is paramount and should not be tampered with.

Even if this was dropped and the fairness of the league was maintained there are other problems which have emerged this week: FIFA are dead set against it and our 2018 bid could be affected, host countries don't appear to be interested, the backlash by fans has been massive etc.

If these problems didn't exist or were easily resolvable I really wouldn't have a problem with a few games abroad, but as it is, and especially as the current plan sees the symmetry of the league destryoed, I think the time has come for the Premier League to quietly drop this one.

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But if you allow 'a small number', the clamour will grow for more and more and more to get more and more and more money. Where do you draw the line? Far better, and more sensible, to kill the idea at source now.

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But if you allow 'a small number', the clamour will grow for more and more and more to get more and more and more money.

I'm not entirely sure that's true. But that's all speculative anyway, it doesn't look like the idea is going anywhere. And in its current form, thank God for that.

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After all the aforesaids, it would be correct to look to the future of the game. We should know that British premier league has international fans in great numbers.

I for one would say there's nothing wrong to see to the other side of things especially when the world is getting smaller everyday. I repeatedly say this, the British impact in many countries cannot be over emphasized most especially within the anglophone. The English premier league is thereby reasonably normal as a good medium to communicate within this countries.

It doesn't mean there's no future possibility cos things are wrong with the English football controlling body as a whole. I enthusiastically buy this idea of spreading this game to outside countries cos FIFA alone shouldn't dorminate the international scene of the football game.

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And you have just re-emphasised why this should not happen, James. This is the English Premier League. The way to promote football in other countries is not simply by dropping the odd game from the most watched league from a great height and saying 'Here you go, watch this'. It is far more involved than that. First and foremost, the responsibility of Premier League clubs should be to their supporters in this country. It is them who turn up and watch the games at the grounds week in and week out. It is them who are the backbone of the club. It is them who, when everyone else doesn't want to know anymore, stay loyal and keep their teams going. And it is them who are being criminally ignored by this short-sighted, money chasing idea.

Besides which, would you really go and watch Wigan v Derby in Abuja, for example?

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And you have just re-emphasised why this should not happen, James. This is the English Premier League. The way to promote football in other countries is not simply by dropping the odd game from the most watched league from a great height and saying 'Here you go, watch this'. It is far more involved than that. First and foremost, the responsibility of Premier League clubs should be to their supporters in this country. It is them who turn up and watch the games at the grounds week in and week out. It is them who are the backbone of the club. It is them who, when everyone else doesn't want to know anymore, stay loyal and keep their teams going. And it is them who are being criminally ignored by this short-sighted, money chasing idea.

Besides which, would you really go and watch Wigan v Derby in Abuja, for example?

That's true. For a game between Wigan v Derby in Abuja,of course, I will for the sake of DERBY and it would depend on the price for me cos I live faraway from Abuja. Really, there's right side to this delibitating issue of playing this game outside of England, besides money many English premier league fans would love to see their favourite teams play in their own countries. I would love to watch Asernal vs Chelsea live on the stadium in my country and many Nigerians would too.

The disadvantages might be very high this time when the English football regulating bodies are experiencing some discrepancies then, they can make a test when it's appropriate if not now for England. For me English premier league has enough fans ouside of Egland to make it and who would want them play in their various countries and, that is not being irresponsible to England.

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But that is the whole point. You might want to watch Arsenal or Chelsea, but you won't want to watch Wigan or Derby or whoever. I know these clubs have fans overseas, and good luck to them, but these overseas supporters should know perfectly well that their chosen teams are English teams, not teams from their own countries. If you want to see Arsenal or Chelsea that badly, why can't they be invited for a pre-season event or something like that? Why does it have to be League fixtures, crucial matches that could end up making or costing clubs massive sums of money?

Nobody who has expressed anything other than outright hostility to this idea has been able to answer me this fundamental question - how much is enough? Where do you draw the line, because if this happens and is deemed to be a 'success', then the clamour will grow for more and more and more, and the English supporters, the people whose interests should be the sole priority, will be gradually frozen out.

In some ways, this might help teams like my own. People may get so hacked off with the dollar-chasing Premier Charade (it wouldn't then be a proper league) that they'll come back to the smaller clubs to watch their football. But, that won't go close to outweighing the everlasting damage this will do to our national game. I don't expect you to care about English football. But I'd have thought you'd care more for your own country's domestic structures.

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But that is the whole point. You might want to watch Arsenal or Chelsea, but you won't want to watch Wigan or Derby or whoever. I know these clubs have fans overseas, and good luck to them, but these overseas supporters should know perfectly well that their chosen teams are English teams, not teams from their own countries. If you want to see Arsenal or Chelsea that badly, why can't they be invited for a pre-season event or something like that? Why does it have to be League fixtures, crucial matches that could end up making or costing clubs massive sums of money?

Nobody who has expressed anything other than outright hostility to this idea has been able to answer me this fundamental question - how much is enough? Where do you draw the line, because if this happens and is deemed to be a 'success', then the clamour will grow for more and more and more, and the English supporters, the people whose interests should be the sole priority, will be gradually frozen out.

In some ways, this might help teams like my own. People may get so hacked off with the dollar-chasing Premier Charade (it wouldn't then be a proper league) that they'll come back to the smaller clubs to watch their football. But, that won't go close to outweighing the everlasting damage this will do to our national game. I don't expect you to care about English football. But I'd have thought you'd care more for your own country's domestic structures.

The influence of English league cannot just be thrown out of the world scene and the love for it in the international communities is very high. If the EPL body find out that it's going to cost massive sums of money to carry out the full fixture then they can play some critical matches outside of England for their international fans. That's not bad at all. European Champions league did some thing close that in the past by playing the final in Turkey, which was Liverpool against AC Milan.

Pre-seasonal matches are not going to be crucially organised as it would when it's premier league( there's a great effect to the world English premier league to the outside fans than saying).

It would finacially be better off for the leaugue to earn and cost much due to its pre-eminence and familiarity. And, that might ease the trouble with the lower division inferiority at home or just as you said, In some ways, this might help teams like my own.

It's never enough to know how much is enough cos unknown factors might come to play their parts. To me there's every success story from the game if it's being played outside of England and more cudles should be given to that concept.

I haven't really seen the damage yet. Plz, can you expantiate on the damage that you think playing this game outside of England would do to the national team? Afterall, the game has not been played in any other country while the national team experienced the worse season ever.

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First of all, the Champions League (what older viewers remember as the European Cup) is nothing to do with the Premier League. It is a UEFA tournament and there is a firm tradition dating back to the formation of the tournament in the 1950s to play the final of the competition at a pre-determined, usually, neutral venue, though there is at least one historic example when the chosen venue was anything but neutral.

Second, you have misunderstood my remark about helping smaller teams. Clearly I must re-emphasise that I do not support a Premier League team and the likelihood of my team reaching the Premier League in the foreseeable future is remote. However, wherever you go in this country, you will always see people wearing Premiership club shirts even when they live hundreds of miles away from where their teams play. Often these people follow these clubs at the expense of watching their local sides. I am sure many smaller clubs such as my own will be hoping that, if this nonsense does go ahead at some point in the future, that these Premiership fans, who largely only watch their teams on television in my experience, will come and watch their local teams more regularly. But these clubs have been progressively frozen out while the Premiership fat cats get even fatter, so I don't expect much to change on that front.

I do get the sense that we're going round in circles on this one. You seem completely unable to see the point of view of the home-based supporters. Aren't they important in this? Don't they have a right to be consulted? Do you really care?

And, as for our national team, I haven't argued it will damage the national team, though it is rather ironic for the Premier League to bring an idea like this forward while managers whinge about fixture congestion. The issue for people such as yourself is whether or not having the Premier League in your countries would harm your own domestic leagues. I'm convinced that it would.

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The issue for people such as yourself is whether or not having the Premier League in your countries would harm your own domestic leagues. I'm convinced that it would.

I would accept your views for you being an English person, apart from that the English teams own it as a duty to their people. It would be wiser to look beyond boundary in sport somehow sometime.

I don't think it would harm our Nigeria domestic leagues in no way than to add quality to how they are being operated.

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Well considering you dont live in Nigeria where would that 'stadium in my country' be, hey James? Time for a bit of honesty??

What are you talking about? Am over 600km away from Abuja. I live in Lagos and I do travel alot too.

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IP addresses do not lie, James. We can see exactly what country you are posting from.

GOD HATES LIARS, JAMES!

Am using a DN from northern African country. From Morocco, I guess! Seciruty matters!

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I don't think it would harm our Nigeria domestic leagues in no way than to add quality to how they are being operated.

Don't you accept there is a risk that people will turn their backs on the domestic leagues in favour of watching the Premier League matches? Clearly officials in Asia, the US and Australia seem to think so.

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I see that Richard Scudamore isn't giving up on this ridiculous idea.

Global plans not dead - Scudamore

And if you wanted any more evidence of why this has to be resisted, try this.

Rotherham facing financial crisis

Is it really fair that the Premier League should look for ever more money when clubs like Rotherham are fighting for their very survival, in most cases for a small fraction of the Premier League money?

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Don't you accept there is a risk that people will turn their backs on the domestic leagues in favour of watching the Premier League matches? Clearly officials in Asia, the US and Australia seem to think so.

In the first case, our local league is not as professional as the English one. Don't you think the fans after watching English premier league, for example in Abuja, would complain for NFA to improve the quality of game or stop watching our locals matches. So, this will be a pressuring way to improve our game, I guess.

For me this should be a welcome idea in my country. There's more advantages to it than the disadvantages in the host countries.

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Let's be realistic about this. If you're a resident of Abuja or wherever and you know you can watch an English Premier League game or a local game, which may well not be of the same quality, what will you choose?

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Let's be realistic about this. If you're a resident of Abuja or wherever and you know you can watch an English Premier League game or a local game, which may well not be of the same quality, what will you choose?

Firstly, I would choose the best. Secondly,it depends on which nation and which team. Am a resident of Lagos. But this is a game involving one team from the proffessional side of play who has something to teach the other who lacks much. I think we should learn to embrace new ideas cos there are somethings we don't know yet about them.

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So you're saying you would turn your back on the domestic league of Nigeria in favour of watching an odd English Premier League game? That is precisely the negative impact that I'm talking about. It's no wonder so many nations and confederations have already come out against this idea when you're displaying exactly the sort of reaction that they're worried about.

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