Soccer-Premier League boss Scudamore still hoping for 39th game
LONDON Oct 24 (Reuters) - The controversial plan to play top-flight English league matches overseas could still come to fruition, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said on Friday.
The so-called "39th game" plan, which drew criticism from FIFA president Sepp Blatter, was revealed last year with Scudamore calling for an extra round of league fixtures to be played around the globe in cities such as Beijing and Bangkok.
Scudamore compared the plan to the NFL's decision to stage a regular season game between the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
"Globalisation of sport is here, it's been here for a while and this is just the next manifestation of it," Scudamore said at a global sport summit in London on Friday.
"We knew the reaction would be somewhat extreme and we knew it was going to be difficult, maybe not as quite as difficult, but clearly we have been looking at this for some time.
"It would be ridiculous of me to say the reaction hasn't moved us back to, if not to the drawing board, then certainly the think tank. It has probably pushed the timelines back.
"But in terms of playing meaningful games abroad, hopefully it will happen within my lifetime, hopefully within my soccer administration career."
Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon said clubs had a duty to support the Premier League in trying to grow its global appeal, although he said the concept of a 39th game still had to be properly worked out.
"The idea of the 39th game got out of the box without a proper rationale or way that it would work," he said.
"Clearly the reaction was resounding in that people did not want it. But as we see with the NFL coming here the top sports are finding ways to take their product and their game internationally.
"It would be remiss of the Premier League not to evaluate it and is part of Richard's job to make sure the Premier League moves forward and we will be supportive of that.
(Editing by Miles Evans)
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