Football

Uefa likely to oppose overseas EPL games

Any ideas England's Premier League might have of playing matches overseas would be unlikely to get any backing from Uefa, a top official of European football's governing body said on Thursday.

Uefa failed to support the idea when it was first mooted six years ago and Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino told delegates at the Leaders In Sport Summit that he did not think the organisation would change its stance on the issue. 

He said: "Whenever these kind of things are discussed, we have to act in a responsible way within the rules that we've all agreed together.

"Let's see what is the decision of Uefa on this. I don't think it will change (from 2008), it would be discussed, but I don't think it will change."

Dangerous precedent

When asked by Reuters after Infantino's address if he supported the idea of matches being played overseas, Fifa executive committee member Michel D'Hooghe said: "My personal opinion is that this is a very dangerous precedent and I am not in favour.

"I understand the reasons why they would like to do it, they are financial I suppose, but if you start doing that, where does it end?

"If there is one thing I have learned in my 40 years as president of the Belgium Football Association you must be afraid of the word 'precedent.' If you do something special for one why refuse it for someone else.

"If it would be my decision at Fifa, I would not allow it."

Jurisdiction

Uefa would only have direct jurisdiction over games being played outside of England if they were played elsewhere in Europe, and would not be directly involved if matches were played in a member association of another confederation.

However, they were against the idea in 2008 and it is inconceivable that Fifa would ignore Uefa objections if the matter came before them.

Matches could only be played overseas with the approval of the host nation, the confederation involved, and Fifa.

The Premier League's chief executive Richard Scudamore was widely criticised six years ago for a plan to introduce an extra match for each club - the so-called "39th game" - at venues in Asia, the United States, Australia and elsewhere.

However, it has been widely reported in Britain that clubs have discussed the idea again and that the revised plan would be for one of the existing 38 rounds of 10 fixtures to be played at various venues around the world.

- Reuters

Related story: Overseas EPL games inevitable, says Swansea chairman

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