Photo by Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
Six years after originally proposing a “39th game”, the Premier League is reportedly looking into resurrecting discussions on playing outside of England.
The concept of playing abroad was originally discussed in 2008, but was quickly met with disapproval. However, with lucrative preseason tours, including Manchester United’s friendly with Real Madrid that drew 109,318 fans, and the NFL’s annual London scheduling serving inspiration, the idea was reportedly back up for discussion at last month’s Premier League shareholders meeting.
One executive on board with the idea is Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins, who insists the club is “on the bandwagon” despite feeling that a potential game abroad is against the spirit of the league.
“I think it is inevitable it is going to happen,” Jenkins said. “While we may not be 100% about it, as passionate football supporters just watching football as we have, it’s going to be a big change. The other side of that is we have got to make sure we are on the bandwagon with them or we are going to get left behind otherwise.
“There’s definitely going to be a run of games played abroad in 12 months or two years. Whatever happens with the changes in the Premier League, we have got to be finishing high enough to be part of it. That’s where it’s going to be and where the money is. It’s a sad reflection of where football is but unless we are part of that, it’s inevitable we are going to fall behind. We have got to make sure, whether we like it or not, we are on board with it.”
Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Wednesday morning:
CHILEAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION PRESIDENT CONSIDERING CHALLENGE OF BLATTER
It has widely been accepted that current FIFA president Sepp Blatter is likely set to continue into his fifth term. However, things may not be as clear cut as a new horse may be entering the race for the job.
Current Chile Football Federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls is considering a run for FIFA President and has until January to submit an official declaration of his candidacy. Mayne-Nicholls, who is currently “studying the situation”, led FIFA’s inspection into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding nations.
“A decision is not necessary before Jan. 28 next year,” Mayne-Nicholls said. “The election is on May 29, so we have all of October, November, December and January. That means four months to check everything so that the people who have contacted me — and whom I have contacted — can assess the best way forward.
Mayne-Nicholls also voiced his opinion that FIFA’s current state needs shaking up, especially when it comes to leadership.
“I wrote a column a few months ago for El Pais in Spain in which I point out the need for fresh air,” he said. “What has happened lately has not served the image of FIFA or, indirectly, football.
“There is a complete disconnect between what the fans think is needed and the administration of the game. That leads me to believe that you can both accomplish change while maintaining what works well. I do not think it is wise, in the long term, to maintain both the same individuals and structures.”
CECH HINTS AT CHELSEA EXIT
Despite spending over a decade at the club, Chelsea’s Petr Cech may soon be on the move.
The 32-year-old evolved into one of the world’s best goalkeepers during his time in blue, but the emergence of 22-year-old Thibaut Courtois has left Cech with a role as backup. Cech remains focused on 2016 European Championships, and the goalkeeper insists that he must get regular playing time ahead of the tournament.
“I think they know me well enough at Chelsea to know that the situation is definitely not the way I would imagine,” Cech said Tuesday while on international duty. “With the European Championships in 2016 and the national team in mind, there is no time for me to sit on the bench and not to play.
“I have not spoken to anybody at the club but if the situation will not start to improve for me then I will want to solve it.”
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil will undergo an MRI scan on his knee while with the German national team. (REPORT)
Juventus defender Martin Caceres is set to miss a month after suffering a thigh injury in the team’s 3-2 victory over Roma Sunday. (REPORT)
FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger has revealed that a European World Cup berth may be redistributed to an African nation. (REPORT)
AC Milan’s Jeremy Menez will undergo tests on an inner thigh injury. (REPORT)
Brazilian club Portuguesa have hired a hypnotist to help team get out of slump. (REPORT)
What do you think of the idea of Premier League teams playing abroad? Will Blatter’s reign as FIFA president continue? Which teams could use a goalkeeper like Cech?
Share your thoughts below.