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Richards 'impressed' by reformers

Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards has told ESPNsoccernet he has been "impressed" by the development of the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) and said the collective body will soon wield real influence in the game.

• Football's Reform Act: The interview

The EPFL, which is led by chief executive Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros and represents 950 clubs across 30 countries, is to reveal sweeping proposals to change European football at a landmark meeting in Madrid on February 11.

A wide range of issues, ranging from the global fixture calendar, the World Cup, the protection of intellectual property from betting organisations and websites and new rules to eliminate illegal betting in the game from managers and players will all be on the agenda.

ESPNsoccernet has been granted a lengthy interview with Medeiros, and Richards has shared his belief that the EPFL will have a big impact upon the landscape of English and European football.

Richards, who had a meeting with Medeiros in London this week, said: "You cannot overestimate the importance of what is actually going on as we speak. There is no doubt the European leagues are already a force within world football, and they have potentially more power than any organisation in the world.

"Their chief executive Emanuel is well equipped to take on this enormous task, and I have been very impressed with how the organisation is taking shape."

The Premier League has put its full weight and own powerbase behind the union of leagues, together with all the most powerful nations in Europe, backed by the smaller nations.

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