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By ESPN Staff
Feb 8, 2008

Redknapp wary of Premier League global games

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp claimed Premier League clubs could become 'like the Harlem Globetrotters' after proposals were announced to stage matches abroad.

Under the plan, from the 2010-11 season, in one weekend in January there would be an extra 'international round' with 10 matches played abroad in cities such as Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Sydney, Johannesburg, Dubai and Beijing.

The Pompey boss is not surprised by the Premier League's plans and believes it will be just a matter of time before a number of games will be staged on foreign shores.

He told talkSPORT: 'I said months ago I could see us playing abroad, I could see them all taking their teams, getting more and more foreign owners.

'We will probably end up playing one game a year in England and the rest around the world.

'It would be like the Harlem Globetrotters!

'I could see it coming a long time ago.

'It will start with one game and then next year or the year after until eventually I can see us playing quite a few games in different parts of the world.'

Redknapp claimed the money now involved in the Premier League - and the potential to make more - had led to the current proposals with the number of foreign investors increasing.

'It's money making. Why do these people buy football clubs? Owners of clubs used to be the local butcher, baker, candlestick maker. That was their team.

'It's all about investment for these people. They buy clubs, they get a good investment and they want a return on their money and that's why they buy the club - it's not because they love the club.'

Redknapp also questioned the practicalities of the extra round of fixtures which are to be decided by a draw.

'How do you plan your game? You have a draw and you play Arsenal or Manchester United - it's going to affect the league table that you are going to play Man United three times, Arsenal three times or Chelsea three times. It's going to be a difficult one.'

Other Premier League managers had mixed views, with Wigan boss Steve Bruce sceptical of a journey across the globe for a single match.

'It's bad enough with international friendlies, let alone going overseas,' Bruce said.

'So I wouldn't be surprised, although there will be a few irate people. Can you imagine going to Fergie (Sir Alex Ferguson) and telling him `by the way, you're not playing at home this week, you are playing in Japan'? I'd like to see it!'

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate added: 'Is it April 1? I find it highly unlikely it would happen. I wouldn't think it would be a realistic proposition.'

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn insisted Sunderland would only give their approval to the plan if all clubs are treated equally.

'It will all boil down to the fact it's a Premier League thing and we're all equally treated,' he said. 'Certainly we would not be comfortable if we felt one club would be getting more than others.

'It has to be right for our football club.'

Meanwhile Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) chairman Malcolm Clarke said it was disrespectful to the traditions of the English game.

'The FSF has no doubt whatsoever the vast majority of supporters are against this, and believe it would drag the Premier League into the realms of farce,' Clarke said.

'Basically, it's a case of `We've had their money here, now - where else can we get people to put their hands in their pockets?'