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By ESPN Staff
Feb 13, 2008

Scudamore: Clubs still back plan

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore insists his controversial plan to introduce a 39th game played at venues around the world still has the support of all 20 top-flight clubs. The plan has divided the football world with governing bodies in Asia and Oceania questioning the move. Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner and Wigan's Dave Whelan have also reportedly expressed doubts but Scudamore is remaining defiant in his desire to fully explore the proposal for each team to play one game abroad from the start of the 2010/11 season. Scudamore told Sky Sports News: 'We're confident that we had the support of the 20 clubs and we still have the support of the 20 clubs. 'Everybody is in the same position. They want answers to some questions and they want to think through the implications for the competition. They want to know whether the whole thing stacks up and that's where we are.' Scudamore admits he is no nearer to finding a solution for the issue of which teams will be paired together for the extra match, and how that might impact the integrity of crucial issues at the end of the season. 'What we haven't talked about yet is the actual format of who will play who,' said Scudamore said. 'We are not fixed on that at all. 'I have a cupboard full of models as to how it could and couldn't work. Fans can impact on things like that, on the basis of what is the fairest way. None of the solutions are entirely self-evident.' Scudamore, who had further meetings with representatives from the Football Association and Football League yesterday and believes he proceeds with their broad backing, says supporters have a vital role to play. He intends to approach designated fans' groups in order to glean their reaction to the plans, and maintains that sending English-based supporters to the matches abroad remains an important aspect of the proposal. Scudamore added: 'It is our absolute intention that as many fans will travel as possible to these games. It is important that what is transmitted back here in broadcast terms is as unique and attractive proposition as can be. 'We want fans to be engaged and we want fans to see the opportunity. We wouldn't be doing this unless we thought that what was going to be put on was a very, very exciting proposition.'