Belfast Telegraph

No 39th game - Scudamore

Richard Scudamore has all but confirmed that Premier League matches will not take place abroad in the foreseeable future.

The Premier League chief executive, who is behind plans for the English top-flight teams to play a 39th fixture overseas, admitted the plans would get "no nearer" to completion due to the weight of opposition and other factors.

On Friday it was confirmed that Premier League matches would be screened live on Friday nights from the start of 2016/17 season as the top-flight aims for another bumper TV payday. Up to 10 games will be shown live on Friday evenings under the terms of the new broadcasting rights.

But in another proposal for change - regarding the so-called 39th game taking place - Scudamore, who first introduced the idea of an extra league match being played in 2008, expressed his feeling that he could not see that happening.

He told the Mail on Sunday: "The clubs are keen for us to keep developing the concept but we're no nearer. The idea of an extra game is gone.

"Whether you play an extra season game (overseas), that has challenges, not least among the fans, which we take into consideration."

A number of Premier League club chairmen believe they could cash in on interest overseas - Manchester United have drawn huge crowds on their tours of the United States and the Far East - but plans for a 39th game were dropped in 2008 following widespread opposition, including from FIFA and UEFA.

Scudamore added: "I've never shied away from the fact that personally I think it's a good idea. I bear the scars from thinking it's a good idea.

"A lot of the clubs think it's a good idea... but there is absolutely no timeline and no idea when it might happen."

The Premier League is not alone in looking to hold games abroad - Italy's Serie A chief confirmed earlier this season that the Italian Super Cup clash between Juventus and Napoli will be played in Doha, Qatar on December 22, while the French Super Cup clash has taken place away from France for the last six years.

But when asked outright if he believed a potential 39th Premier League match would take place in the next TV round before 2020, Scudamore said: "You can make that assumption."

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