Date: 20th July 2017 at 6:53pm
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Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore has said that whilst he believes a 39th Premier League fixture list is still an option, it’s not on the agenda just yet.

Having announced plans for a round of fixtures to be played on foreign soil three years ago, Scudamore admits he’s still licking his wounds when it comes to the reaction of fans across the Premier League to such a suggestion, but with growing support from clubs themselves, he still doesn’t feel the time is right to look at such an idea again.

Quoted by Sky Sports as he spoke the other day at the opening of this year’s Premier League Asia Trophy tournament, Scudamore said that there was a growing appetite from Premier League clubs themselves to look towards the possibility of a fixture abroad to maximise greater market appeal, but knowing such an idea would continue to irk fans themselves it’s not on the cards just yet.

‘I’ve got the scars all the way up my back from the last time. Look, I may be at the Premier League for five, 10, 15 or 20 years. There is no plan to do it. Is there still a burning desire? The clubs would like to do it but we are also realistic that says until the fan, political and media reaction is any more warm towards it, it won’t happen.’

Scudamore went on to clarify what shape such a round of fixtures would take should the idea re-present itself in the future – so clearly this isn’t an off the cuff discussion, plans exist somewhere as many always suspected they did.

‘If it did happen it wouldn’t be a 39th game. I think there would be a desire to do a round of fixtures internationally but there is no prospect of it happening any time soon or in anybody’s realistic timeframe. We have no time set for it but I am a man of belief. I thought it was the right thing to do I, still do.’

So we’re talking potentially a weekend away in pre season or at the end of the season, or even during international breaks to get the trip abroad on the fixture list and even starting out as a random draw deal would achieve that.

Scudamore went on to say.

‘I fully understand those who have bought a season ticket, been to every game home and away for the last 25 years, deem themselves to be at the highest echelon of fan commitment. I get that. You can’t take that away from anyone but also I think those fans realise that now the Premier League and those clubs are global success stories.’

He added.

‘That global success has come from interest that other fans have. This is not a patronising, false interest. The bit that always strikes a chord is how knowledgeable and passionate they are. I would put a lot of people here on these trips up against anyone back home, pub quiz, in terms of knowledge of the club.’

The cynic would say whilst fans abroad of long standing support, those that travel over on supporter trips and the like could well give most a run for their money in terms of a quiz and overall knowledge, those who support a club because they love a particular player might have trouble naming the rest of the squad.

With the growth of the Chinese Super League and foreign ownership in the Premier League seeing stronger ties with a number of countries and the backing that those fans give teams during pre season tours and the like, there is a sense of clubs giving that support something back but many fans would argue they do that already so make more of a pre season tour possibly, but stay away from league fixtures themselves as that would be a happy medium and at least this time round that is the angle Scudamore is coming at it from.

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