Scudamore: Singapore has lots going for it
EPL chairman Scudamore praises organisation but coy on whether tourney will return in 2017
1 Other than the Barclays Asia Trophy, the Premier League has made its presence felt here through the Premier Skills programme and the workshops. What are the league's plans for Singapore?
RICHARD SCUDAMORE : We don't go to a place once and just leave. We have been coming to this region for a long time... so this is yet another considerable notch up from what we have done in previous years.
We've announced a $50,000 investment yesterday for the Football Association of Singapore into the Premier Skills Level 2 and 3 coaching programmes.
We will build a legacy programme with them and keep coming back to do more.
2 How long is this deal with the FAS?
That depends on how long all the courses take... but it won't all end there.
The way we have been welcomed here in Singapore... operationally, everything has worked, from the stadium to all the events off-field, it's been so well organised, well facilitated and well provided for. I can see us wanting to come back and do more.
3 Will the Barclays Asia Trophy be back here in 2017 then, since we are likely to see the best-ever attendances in the competition here?
We never make promises on where we go next, because we have to sit down and do a complete assessment.
But the clubs enjoyed themselves, it's all gone well, the stadium and facilities are great, the welcome we get here is fantastic, and it's relatively easy to get around to many other places. So there are lots going for it (Singapore).
4 In recent years, more Spanish, German and Italian teams have ramped up promotional efforts in Asia, where the EPL has a stronghold. Is there a danger of this "bubble" bursting?
We don't have any control over that, all we can do is to activate through our broadcasting-rights partners, the highest quality and tele-visual experience we can, since most of our interaction with fans in Asia is through television.
As long as we are putting on a good show, I am absolutely convinced that interest will not only continue in the current level, but it will also continue to grow.
5 Some say Raheem Sterling's transfer from Liverpool to Manchester City cost so much because he's a homegrown player. Is there a danger that homegrown players will inflate the English transfer market?
It's almost impossible to answer that question... that's what it took for Liverpool to sell him. You can come up all the other theories you like but, ultimately, Manchester City wanted him and it took that amount of money to prise him away.
Whether it is because he was homegrown or not, much has been read into all that.
6 What can the Premier League do to increase its numbers of homegrown players, since it is resisting the Football Association's efforts to increase the quota of such players?
We have had a complete revamp and overhaul of our youth development programme and are just coming into the last year of our four-year, £340 million ($725m) investment.
They have voted in the second version of the Elite Player Performance Plan and it will come into full steam at the end of next season.
We are absolutely focused, and the clubs are totally committed to improving youth development... we believe in only the philosophy that your players have to be good enough to hold their own in those teams. You shouldn't be artificially putting quotas.
7 Some critics, including ex-players, blame the Premier League for England's lack of success on the international front. How long would this new plan take to develop enough players of quality?
We are producing enough quality players now, and our job ends when the players come through and they start making their first-team debuts.
The whole point of the plan is to produce better homegrown players, but we don't accept that criticism that the England team's success or lack thereof is the responsibility of our organisation.
8 With clubs getting more money from TV rights, is there a concern they will spend more on ready-made players and not develop their own?
No, I just keep going back to the fact that the clubs are investing as much in youth development as they are in just about anything else.
It's just an absolute commitment to bring through homegrown players, they absolutely want to do it.
But... if a club or a manager thinks that Player A can do a better job than Player B, I absolutely respect that club's decision, whether it's a foreign player they buy, or a homegrown player.
Ultimately, it has to be their choice because it's about putting on the best possible show we can, for the betterment of the league.
Ultimately, Manchester City wanted him and it took that amount of money to prise him away. Whether it is because he was homegrown or not, much has been read into all that.
— Richard Scudamore on the £49 million ($104m) transfer of Raheem Sterling to Man City
Envious of NFL and NBA
Despite running the sporting behemoth that is the English Premier League, Richard Scudamore still casts his eyes enviously at the foreign expansion success of the NFL and NBA.
The two US sports leagues have successfully hosted regular season games in the United Kingdom, and it has been a long-held wish of Scudamore's that Premier League matches also be played around the world.
The executive chairman has overseen the staggering growth of wealth in the English league - combined revenues among the 20 clubs during the 2013-14 season soared to £3.26 billion ($7b) - on the back of bumper television contracts.
But his idea of an overseas "39th game" was met with opposition from fans, who routinely fill stadiums and helped local television deals swell to a record £5.14b earlier this year.
"I do envy the other sports that can, whether it be the NBA or NFL, who come to England and get praised by the same media who completely criticise the Premier League for even thinking about it," Scudamore told Reuters yesterday.
"I have never denied I think it's a good idea that we could play some games abroad but, ultimately, I do respect the fact that the fans don't think it's a good idea and, until such times as sufficient numbers of them do think it's a good idea, it can't happen.
"You can't run a perfect democracy, the fans can't entirely vote for everything... but certainly I think there is such widespread difficultly on this particular issue."
Scudamore is in Singapore attending the Barclays Asia Trophy. The biennial tournament, which has been held in Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Thailand, is in its seventh edition and is set to achieve record attendances of over 77,000 in Singapore.
Scudamore said the event could never meet the demands of Asian fans, who contributed billions of pounds to the league's coffers in the international television market.
He said: "It can never satisfy the appetite of the fan enough and, at the end of the day, until you see a proper real game played for points, how can it satisfy the appetite as the appetite is so huge?"
Everton boss Roberto Martinez said he was in favour of the idea of overseas matches played for points.
"The Premier League is breaking new barriers and achieving incredible things, so you would never want to say never," Martinez said this week.
"As a football lover, you would want to export our league everywhere in the world and get that closeness with the fans around the world."
Meanwhile, Scudamore has described the ongoing corruption scandal at Fifa as "wholly unacceptable".
Scudamore is calling for change at the top of the organisation and expects president Sepp Blatter not to make a U-turn on his decision to resign.
He told Sky Sports News HQ: "You sit there with some despair really because it is the game you love and the idea that the world governing body is going through such turmoil.
"Obviously, this is an investigation and we can't run too far with it at the moment but, clearly, it looks like there have been things going on that are just wholly unacceptable.
"It's the accountability really, who is holding this organisation to account and things have got to change.
"Let's hope that the changes can be made to bring some sort of respect and credibility back to the game because it's a way of operating that we just don't recognise.
"The way we govern the money in the game within the Premier League is so different and we get very frustrated that we are somehow associated with things that are done in a very different way."
On Blatter's future, Scudamore added: "I've only seen the media coverage that has been given but I did see his press conference and to me he had resigned and that means he is going."
- Wire Services.