Gill set to inflict new blow to Premier League plans
Thursday 21 February 2008
David Gill, the Manchester United chief executive, is expected to deliver a blow to the Premier League's proposal for overseas games by telling the Football Association board today that the club opposes the plan.
Gill is one of only three top-flight representatives on the FA board, so it will be an uphill struggle for the Premier League chairman, Sir Dave Richards, to persuade the other members to back the scheme for each club to play a 39th match in a foreign city.
The best the Premier League can hope for is to be given more time to develop their proposals. But with Gill in opposition, even that avenue may be closed if the other board members – of whom half come from the amateur game – feel the plan on the table is unworkable.
Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, had a meeting with his FA counterpart, Brian Barwick, and the FA chairman, Lord Triesman, where he presented the plans in detail. But the opposition within the FA has hardened over the past two weeks and Triesman has made it clear there are four hurdles for the league to overcome, and that if the objections are not dealt with the league will have to drop the idea.
These are ensuring there is no adverse impact on England's 2018 World Cup bid, that there is no impact on fixture congestion or the fortunes of the national team, that fans are not opposed to the move and that the format of the competition is fair. Triesman said: "So far we have not had sustainable answers to that."
Gill is expected to tell the FA board that, with the current plan, there is no chance of overcoming those problems. He may also point out that those in charge of Liverpool have the same view.
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