Proposals for a 39th game in the English Premier League have been muted for quite some time. Given that the original plans were to have the match take place in the 2011/12 season in the near future, we could see the plans come back into the public domain.
The initial plan, which was rejected out of hand by the Football Association in early 2008, would have seen a 39th round of games played international in five different cities across the world. It would have taken place one weekend in January with each city being awarded two games each to be played on Saturday and Sunday.
Interest was said to be high in many locations but the people who mattered didn’t like it one bit – this being the FA, fans, and to an extent Sepp Blatter. Although he probably wasn’t offered enough of the pie!
At the time, it was reported that the extra earnings that could come from the games would be between £40m and £80m and it’s hard to see why the fans were so opposed to the plan. You don’t actually lose a game as it’s an extra one added and would mean you get a chance to watch the team you really feel for on foreign shores.
This would mean no trekking to international tournaments to watch England embarrassingly falter. Most likely didn’t consider the benefits international weather could bring in mid-January. Would you really turn down Bondi beach for Scarborough beach in January?
Blatter could also be of a different opinion by now as well. He was, after all, quoted as saying the decision to take the World Cup to other countries was so that football could reach new territories. This would do the same.
There will be more of a clamor in countries that currently have a culture of sports betting, such as Australia, where the money to be made from the games will be vast. You only have to look at the extra money made by a number of British bookmakers when the NFL and NBA decamped to these shores to see the difference a 39th game could make.
Whether it’s Sydney, Dubai, or San Francisco you can imagine that it won’t be long until the Premier League decides this to be their next plan of action and eventually the FA will be powerless to stop it happening.