Club chiefs bemoan concept of Premier League matches abroad

 
Frank Dalleres
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EUROPEAN football chiefs have poured cold water on talk of Premier League matches being played overseas, insisting they are unlikely to drop their opposition to the plan.

Clubs are believed to be re-examining the proposals and could take regular-season fixtures to major international cities such as Hong Kong and New York as soon as the 2016-17 season.

But governing body Uefa has long opposed the idea – president Michael Platini called it “nonsense” – and yesterday another top official reaffirmed that scepticism.

“Let’s see what the position of Uefa is, but I don't think it will change,” general secretary Gianni Infantino told the Leaders Sport Business Summit in London.

“These kinds of ideas and proposals are on the table every now and then and we have to discuss them. We have to bear in mind there is a pyramid in place: world governing body Fifa, the confederations [such as Uefa], national associations and so on.”

Uefa does not have the power to veto overseas Premier League games, so long as they are not played in its European member territories, though Fifa would need to approve the plan.

Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer said bumper crowds in his native Australia for pre-season tour matches involving Liverpool and Manchester United in recent years illustrate that the demand certainly exists.

“That just shows you the magnitude of the Premier League in places like Asia,” he told the conference at Stamford Bridge. “They're craving for it.”

However, Schwarzer admitted any such games would be better suited to the end of the season, as jet lag would significantly affect players' performance.”