Football Association troubled by Premier League's overseas plan

Society Materials 15 February 2008 23:12 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - England's Football Association expressed "serious reservations" Friday about the Premier League's proposals to play an extra round of fixtures abroad.

The Premier League last week announced proposals to add an extra round of fixtures to the regular season, with the games to be played at host cities across the globe to be decided by auction.

The FA will discuss the proposals next Thursday, but they have clearly been troubled by FIFA president Sepp Blatter's comment that such a move could harm England's chances of hosting the World Cup in 2018.

"The Football Association has listened carefully to the comments made by FIFA President Sepp Blatter regarding the Premier League's proposal for an international round of fixtures," an FA statement said.

"This proposal has generated a high level of debate both domestically and within the international football family. While the Football Association has given full consideration to views expressed by all parties, we must also make our own position on this subject clear.

"We can confirm that the Football Association 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 are not 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. We have a responsibility to the whole of English football and we have to consider any wider consequences and implications that this proposal may create.

"We have heard the criticism from supporters and the objections raised by others in the worldwide football family.

"The Football Association has worked extremely hard for several years to improve our relationships and standing with FIFA and UEFA, and has largely succeeded.

"Clearly we do not want this extensive work to be damaged. We also do not want the Premier League's proposal to affect England's 2018 World Cup bid in any way.

"At this time, due to the Football Association's strong international relations, we do not believe it has."

Numerous bodies have spoken out against the proposal, including the governing bodies in Australia and Asia, the Football Supporters Federation and Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez and chief executive Rick Parry.