America deals blow to Scudamore's global plan

The Premier League's plans for an "international round" of games starting in January 2011 were given an ambivalent welcome yesterday by the leading football official in America, one of the countries where the League hopes matches might be played.

Sunil Gulati, the president of the US Soccer Federation, said the USSF, which would have to sanction any games, "will be guided by Fifa. But if it's not in line with Fifa's rules then we won't sanction it".

The Premier League's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, has yet to meet with Fifa officials to discuss the plan, but hopes to convince the governing body of its merits. There is nothing in Fifa's statues to stop Premier League games being played abroad if sanctioned, and Scudamore has said he would only take games to countries where the idea was welcomed.

In a BBC interview, Gulati said the USSF had declined a proposal 10 years ago when a Los Angeles team wanted to play in the Mexican league. That would have been a permanent involvement in a separate nation's domestic competition, however, not just the one weekend of "touring" games as the Premier League is proposing.