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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 15, 2008

FA express 'serious reservations' over proposals

The Football Association have expressed 'serious reservations' about the proposal to play an extra round of Premier League fixtures abroad.

Earlier this month it was announced that Premier League clubs had unanimously agreed to further examine a proposal which would create a new round of 10 competitive fixtures to be played across the world over one weekend in January, beginning in the 2010-11 season.

The governing body will discuss the matter fully at a scheduled board meeting next Thursday, and have insisted they believe the proposal - criticised by FIFA president Sepp Blatter yesterday - has not yet harmed England's 2018 World Cup bid.

Blatter said yesterday: 'This will never happen - at least this will not happen as long as I am the president of FIFA.'

The FA statement, released to PA Sport today, said: 'The Football Association has listened carefully to the comments made by FIFA President Sepp Blatter regarding the Premier League's proposal for an international round of fixtures.

'This proposal has generated a high level of debate both domestically and with the international football family. While the Football Association has given full consideration to views expressed by all parties, we must also make our own position on this subject clear.

'We can confirm that the Football Association did speak to FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke about this matter yesterday. We explained that while we had received a verbal summary on the subject, at this time we are not in possession of any detailed proposals from the Premier League to pass on to FIFA.

'It was also made clear to FIFA that the Football Association has some serious reservations about the proposal. We have a responsibility to the whole of English football and we have to consider any wider consequences and implications that this proposal may create.'

The FA are clearly concerned about the impact of this proposal if it is pushed forward in spite of international opposition.

The statement continued: 'As a national association we also recognise the authority of FIFA and its executive committee.

'We have heard the criticism from supporters and the objections raised by others in the worldwide football family.

'The Football Association has worked extremely hard for several years to improve our relationships and standing with FIFA and UEFA, and has largely succeeded.

'Clearly we do not want this extensive work to be damaged. We also do not want the Premier League's proposal to affect England's 2018 World Cup bid in any way. At this time, due to the Football Association's strong international relations, we do not believe it has.

'This matter will be discussed at the Football Association's scheduled board meeting which will take place next Thursday (February 21). This will provide an opportunity for the FA board to fully debate the subject as a group for the first time.'

FA chairman Lord Triesman said: 'I am determined that our international and domestic relations must be sustained at the highest level, and I will not countenance any damage to those relations.'