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English Premier League’s global expansion still on the agenda

SoccerNews in English Premier League 27 May 2008

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English Premier League plans for a 39th round of fixtures to be played across the world are back on the agenda according to Everton chief executive Keith Wyness.

The scheme met with widespread opposition when it was first mooted earlier this year. The global game's governing bodies, FIFA, as well as the national assocations of potential match venues like Sydney, Bangkok and New York all slammed the idea.

But, in the aftermath of last week's dramatic all-English Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea in Moscow, the 39th game is back up for discussion.

It will be debated at next week's annual meeting in Leicestershire, with a final decision due early next year, and Everton's Wyness believes it could still happen.

“It (the 39th game) is certainly not dead,” Wyness told the Liverpool Echo. “It's going to be discussed again in June at the Premier League summer meeting and that's the next hurdle it has got to cross.

“I think it's something that needs to be explored really fully because there is some very strong potential in it.

“I understand the opposition towards it and the arguments that have been made. But I do think it something that really needs to be looked at.

“We can't rest where we are now as a league. You see other sports trying new things and don't forget you have got the IPL and Twenty20 cricket coming up on the rails.

“They are trying to get cricket started off in America and China now, too. The landscape for sport is going to change dramatically in the next 10 or 15 years and we have got to stay up there.”

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