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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 12, 2008

AFC chief against Premier League games in Asia

Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed bin Hammam has firmly rejected the idea of the Premier League staging games in Asia.

The Premier League last week announced an ambitious plan to play an extra 'international round' of matches in January from the 2010-11 season, extending the campaign to 39 games.

Several cities in Asia have been proposed as possible destinations to host some of the 10 fixtures, but Bin Hammam was unequivocal in his stance that he would not endorse a proposal which was detrimental to Asian domestic leagues.

'I always welcome the exchange of knowledge and expertise between foreign football associations and clubs, and support matches organised between AFC and other confederations which benefit the development of our clubs here in Asia,' he said in a statement.

'But at the present time, I can't see the wisdom in the proposed plans.

'My recommendation to the AFC executive committee would be to reject any initiatives of this nature.

'And we would urge the AFC member associations to protect their own national leagues and clubs within their territories. This is our position.

'With relation to the overall principle, it is my belief that it is not a good idea to organise domestic leagues in territories other than their own.'

Bin Hammam also mooted the idea that if the scheme does become a reality, other countries should be allowed to do the same in England.

'If this principle is accepted, then the FA Premier League must accept reciprocal arrangements within their own territory.'

The AFC forced Manchester United to cancel a proposed friendly in Malaysia last summer because of a clash with the Asian Cup, which the country was co-hosting.

The Football Association's Professional Game Board were due to meet today when the proposed 39th round of fixtures was due to be discussed.

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