Premier League clubs look to overseas games

The 20 Premier League clubs are planning a radical change that would see each team playing an extra match a season in a foreign city.

Under the proposal, from the 2010-11 season in one weekend in January there would be an extra 'international round' with 10 matches played abroad in cities such as Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Sydney, Johannesburg, Dubai and Beijing.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: "The 'international round' is an exciting and innovative proposal that needs careful consideration before being introduced.

"However, this concept recognises the truly global appeal of the Barclays Premier League whilst understanding that the traditions of the English game have always underpinned our success.

"We believe that an 'international round' of matches will enhance the strength of the Barclays Premier League as a competition; create extra interest in all 20 Premier League Clubs at home and abroad; and allow increased investment in talent development and acquisition, facilities as well as our football development and community programmes."

A meeting of the 20 clubs this morning agreed in principle to the plan. The final decision whether to proceed with the plan will be made in January next year.

The idea would be to cash in on existing interest in the Premier League around the world, and the extra money generated from TV would be split equally among the 20 clubs.

The details of how the system would work have yet to be finalised but it would mean each club playing 39 games, with a draw to pick out each side's overseas match.

There would be a sporting criteria, such as league position, to decide who plays who, and under the proposal, points earned in the overseas game would count towards the final league position.

Scudamore added: "The globalisation of sport is both an opportunity and a challenge; one that needs addressing in a responsible way.

"We are a better competition for being a cosmopolitan league and have benefited from our increased international reach.

"Nonetheless, it is critical we retain our English character by improving our efforts to produce home-grown talent, deepening our commitment to community engagement and continuing our investment in the grass-roots."

One club source told PA Sport: "The Premier League is a global game now. Everyone knows how popular it is around the world and this proposal went down so well because every club would be involved, not just a few.

"The Premier League has always worked as a co-operative of 20 clubs and this would increase everyone's income, showcase the league to the rest of the world, and be exciting to those fans in this country who either want to travel to the game or watch it on TV.

"We now need the League to look at the proposal and see how we can take it forward."

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