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Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Hong Kong keen on Premier League plan

Hong Kong Football Association chairman Brian Leung has revealed that the former British colony is 'very interested' in staging Premier League games in the future.

The Premier League last week announced plans to extend the domestic season to 39 games by holding an additional 'international round' of fixtures from the 2010-11 season.

Several countries across Asia and the Middle East have been cited as possible venues, with Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Qatar all expressing an interest.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed bin Hammam are opposed to the proposal, with the latter urging AFC member associations to 'protect their own national leagues and clubs within their territories'.

Leung, however, insists Hong Kong is prepared to host English league fixtures, with the success of July's Asia Trophy - a tournament that saw Liverpool, Fulham and Portsmouth compete in front of sell-out crowds - still fresh in the memory.

'The Hong Kong Football Association would be very interested (in staging games),' Leung said.

'We have already sent an e-mail to (Premier League chief executive) Richard Scudamore expressing our interest.

'Mr Bin Hamman, the President of the AFC, has recently made his comments, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

'After the success of the Asia Trophy, when the plan was mentioned, Hong Kong was one of the first places mentioned.

'The Premier League were very happy with the Asia Trophy. They know that the fans are here and the interest is here.'

Hong Kong's NowTV recently paid £100milion for a three-year deal to broadcast Premier League matches, and Leung believes the mood is right in the city to play host to the biggest clubs in the English game.

'As there would be five cities, it would be guaranteed that there would be a big club coming to Hong Kong,' Leung continued.

'I have spoken to fans in Hong Kong and people in the Hong Kong government and they are very interested, as they want Hong Kong to be a global city.

'I do not think it would affect the local league, I think it would increase interest.'