segunda-feira, 11 de fevereiro de 2008

FSF to take on Premier League over fixtures abroad proposal

Thursday 07th February 2008
The Football Supporters’ Federation has challenged the Premier League to scrap plans to play matches abroad if a significant majority of fans are opposed to the idea.
At a meeting in London on Thursday, all 20 top flight clubs consented to investigate proposals to extend the Premier League season to 39 games - the resulting ten extra fixtures would be played at venues around the world, with cities bidding for the right to stage them.
It is understood these additional fixtures would be determined by a ballot, with the top-five teams seeded to avoid playing each other. Various cities around the globe would then embark on an Olympic style bidding race for the right to stage them.
Premier League officials believe cities in Asia, Middle East and North America are likely to show a strong interest in hosting the extra games, though it is unlikely that any final decision will be taken before the Premier League's annual summer meeting in June.
But Football Supporters’ Federation Chairman Malcolm Clarke has challenged the FAPL to drop the proposal if a majority of fans are against the move.
“We challenge the Premier League to scrap these plans if the majority of football fans in this country don’t want matches to be played abroad.” Clarke said.
“Because the FSF has no doubt whatsoever the vast majority of supporters are against this, and believe it would drag the Premier League into the realms of farce.
“When this ludicrous idea was first mooted in October last year, we ran a poll here on our website a and a huge majority of supporters – 80% who took the trouble to vote were in complete opposition to this then and I’m sure they still are now.
“And I think that figure will go even higher now that the full ridiculousness of the Premier League’s proposals as to how this would actually work has been revealed.
“From what I understand, the Premier League proposal would involve the Premiership season being extended to 39 games – and which clubs would play each other in the extra game to be played abroad, would be decided by ballot.
“What effect could that have on promotion and relegation issues? Are we going to see local derbies played in a foreign country thousands of miles away? Are supporters supposed to accept missing on the biggest games of their season because it’s being played on the other side of the planet?
“Let’s face facts, the sole motivation for this is the Premier League to make more money – aren’t they making enough already?
“This displays a complete disregard for the proud traditions of the English game, as well as a crass lack of consideration for football supporters in general. Basically, it’s a case of “We’ve had their money here, now – where else can we get people to put their hands in their pockets.
“The fact is in terms of the Premiership, the value of the product to the tv companies is greatly enhanced by the unique atmosphere created by English football supporters - sadly, they fail to see playing Premier League fixtures in other countries in front of largely neutral crowds simply won't have the same appeal.”

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