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FIFA opposition could kill Premier League

Richard Scudamore, facing hostile questioning from a parliamentary committee said the radical plan will be reconsidered.
By HT Correspondent | AP, London
UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2008 10:57 PM IST

FIFA's opposition to the Premier League's plan to play an additional round of matches overseas in the 2010-11 season could kill the proposal.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, facing hostile questioning from a parliamentary committee Tuesday, said the radical plan will be reconsidered.

"Yes, it's had some hostile reaction and clearly we are not going to take this forward in anyway if it doesn't meet with some form of acquiesce from FIFA," Scudamore told the lawmakers. "Certainly the Football Association and the Football League will have to be comfortable with whatever move and direction we take." Besides FIFA, Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez have voiced strong opposition to the "international round," which would be in addition to the traditional 38 home-and-away matches each of the clubs currently play.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger didn't appear to be completely against the proposal, while Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was more angry about not being consulted in the matter. "We will decide, after consultation, whether that deviation from perfect symmetry is proportionate and worth it in the scheme of things," Scudamore said. "If it's deemed not to be worth it then the whole thing will be reformatted and we will think again about our global expansion."

The matches would be played at five venues around the world over a single weekend in January 2011. Each city would host one game on Saturday and one on Sunday.

"It's certainly not a dead duck because it's only just started," Scudamore said.

Football Association chairman Brian Triesman, speaking alongside Scudamore, said he has yet to hear "sustainable answers" to widespread concerns.

"People should feel that whatever happens it doesn't induce the kind of unfairness which may mean that their side, which is perhaps fighting on the edge of the relegation zone, is suddenly confronted with a third game against a side that can probably do them considerable damage," Triesman said.

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