Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, has reaffirmed his will for a 39th round of Premier League fixtures to be played abroad.
The idea drew a lot of criticism from the media and from fans when it was first proposed in 2008, but Scudamore has told the BBC that he and Premier League clubs would still be in favor of the move.
Scudamore, speaking at the official launch of the 2014/15 Premier League season, said: “The clubs wanted it then and they all would still probably want it now.
“It will happen at some point – whether it is on my watch, who knows?”
He has, however, noted that clubs do regularly travel the world on pre-season tours without the back drop of the Premier League and has said that having a 39th round of fixtures may not have much benefit over what is already the norm. This summer, records were broken as 109,318 flocked to Michigan to see Manchester United play Real Madrid.
On this, Scudamore said:”What has been interesting over the summer, particularly in the US, watching those audiences, you could argue that we don’t need to do it [bring in the 39th game].
“To get 102,000 [sic] to what we would call a pre-season friendly – you wouldn’t get more even if there was three points, six points, or even nine points riding on that particular game.”
Scudamore spoke publicly for the first time since being criticized over alleged sexist remarks in emailed he had sent. He took the time to defend the Premier League as the finest league in the world, despite global stars like Luis Suarez and James Rodriguez joining Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in Spain’s La Liga.
“The fact of the matter is we have got the most competitive league.
“The way we we distribute the TV rights to all the clubs, the way me make every club able to compete is very, very different to how they do it in other leagues – particularly in Spain.
“I would far rather have a league where we are talking about five, six, maybe seven teams that can possibly come and challenge to win the title.
“In Spain, it’s not quite the same in terms of strength in depth.”
Scudamore did also apologize for his emails that appeared to undermine the women’s game, saying: “We don’t see a gender split at all in terms of football.”