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Liverpool Pies

Poll: What do you think of the Premier League's plans to go global?

If you believe the newspapers today, then every football supporter the length and breadth of the United Kingdom is seething after the Premier League unveiled plans to play an extra 39th game each season overseas - the so-called "international round."

The idea is nothing new, as various English teams have met in tournaments around the world in the past, but that has always been in pre-season fixtures, or in the case of sell-outs Manchester United, lucrative exhibition games.

The fact that the Premier League is pushing through such a plan is almost inevitable given the way the modern game is developing. The pursuit of extra revenues appears the number one priority for club chairmen, who seem determined to increase club fan bases, no matter what the cost to their loyal home support.

I'm not naive enough to say that I never saw such a move coming, but I didn't think for a second they'd do it in the middle of the season. A pre-season game would make a lot more sense, but interrupting the league schedule for a full two weeks just to bring in sackfuls of cash is a terrible idea.

And I'm wondering which cities around the world will be willing to fork out millions of pounds to pay for the privilege of seeing Blackburn versus Middlesbrough. Not exactly a glamous tie to excite the masses...

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore is the villain du jour, but he apparently has the backing of the Premier League chairmen, so the problem is one that the clubs have had a hand in creating.

The plan, as Scudamore and his Premier League suits explained it, would involve five cities bidding to stage two Premier League games each over a weekend in early January, probably after the third round of the FA Cup. The fixtures would be decided by a draw at the start of the season.

Just how they can justify such a plan is beyond me, as the implications for both deciding the Premier League title and relegation are enormous. Imagine, for example, Arsenal being drawn to face Tottenham in Tokyo, while Manchester United were picked out of the hat against Derby for a game in New York.

The system, no matter how it is devised, will always throw up controversial ties, so it's no wonder us lowly fans - without whom none of the clubs would be able to operate - are so angered by the idea.

A seeding system is apparently being devised to try to appease supporters, so I'm guessing that each of the five cities who win the bids to host the games will be guaranteed one of the clubs that finished in the top five of the Premier League the previous season.

Those cities would be spread across time zones, allowing British viewers to watch five back-to-back games on the Saturday and Sunday. Whether they would be pay-per-view or not was not announced.

I'm conscious that there are a great many Arsenal Pies readers spread around the world, so it would be great to hear from you guys what you think about the international round concept. But I'd like to hear from the UK-based fans as well. After all, some of you may actually like the idea.

But with whispers about supporters associations contemplating picket lines and urging people to boycot games in protest, I reckon I may already know the outcome of our poll.

I'll give you the weekend to mull over your thoughts and I'll post the results of the poll here on Monday.

Came straight to this page? Visit www.arsenalpies.tv for all the latest news.

Posted by Gordon Masson on February 8, 2008 10:37 AM in Debate of the Day| News| Players
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It is a great idea to play matches abroad, but I think that the suggestions I have heard so far are wrong. It means that one team will play us three times in a season. Imagine the moaning from Spurs fans if it is them.

I would prefer to see a round from one of the Cups played overseas, that way it doesn't interfere with the fairness of the league.

Posted by: Marc | February 8, 2008 4:40 PM

I don't know why they need to add a 39th game, it should be one of the regular 38, lets face it season ticket holders would only be affected once every 2 years and it adds another factor into the Premiership title.

Posted by: Fra | February 8, 2008 6:02 PM

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