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Barca hampered by archaic FIFA

Barcelona 16 hours ago
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Bayern MunichBayern Munich
VfL WolfsburgVfL Wolfsburg
6:30 PM GMT
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 15, 2008

Parry: Game 39 not 'On Liverpool's agenda'

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry has added his voice to the growing opposition to the Premier League's controversial proposal to play fixtures abroad.

The idea of an 'international round' of fixtures, floated last week by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, has been attacked by - among others - FIFA president Sepp Blatter, UEFA counterpart Michel Platini, Asian federation chief Mohamed bin Hammam and Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.

Now Parry has raised his concerns, telling the club's website: 'We should consider any new proposal on its merits, but this has never been on Liverpool's club agenda. Our goal remains to build a bigger stadium in Liverpool to enable more of our supporters to watch us play there.

'As Rafa has already explained, he and I have discussed the Premier League's proposal for a 39th game and we both have concerns such a move could damage the integrity of the competition.

'I expressed these thoughts at the time and still hold them today. There's already an ongoing debate about a potential winter break and we are constantly talking about the demands being made on players these days.

'You have to look forward, but the popularity of the Premier League is based around the country's top teams playing in England.

'I don't have an issue with the idea being taken forward for further discussion but it's vital that the Premier League listen to key people both here and abroad and the reaction so far has been a negative one in many ways.'

Blatter condemned the Premier League's proposal as 'unacceptable' and an 'abuse of football'.

He vowed to do all he can to block the League's plans and warned that if they push ahead with the proposals it could torpedo England's bid for the 2018 World Cup.

Blatter said: 'To try to have additional exposure and revenue by expanding the League around the world, I think this is not acceptable.

'It will not be acceptable to the FIFA executive committee, I am sure. This will never happen - at least this will not happen as long as I am the president of FIFA.

'We have not been contacted before by the League to ask us what we think of this idea. You speak about rude but I think it is an anti-responsibility.

'If you are the most prosperous league in the world and if you accept that everyone in football has a responsibility to maintain it not only as a business, but as a game.

'Then, all of a sudden you come out with a project which only has business and money behind it.'

Former England captain David Beckham believes the Premier League plan could boost the competition's global appeal but fears domestic supporters risk being frozen out.

'They have got to be careful because there are so many games, so much football, in the Premier League already,' the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder said.

'It has got to be looked at long and hard, and many people have to be asked for their opinions, like the players and fans.

'It would be nce for the fans to be asked what their ideas and thoughts are because they are the people that make that league and they are the ones it is going to affect. Ask the fans, ask the players and go from there.'