Premier League supremo Richard Scudamore has admitted would still like to see a round of fixtures being played abroad during the regular season.
With the Asia Trophy proving a massive success here in the Far East, the League’s chief executive revealed that while the idea has been taken off the table, the will to accommodate fans on the other side of the world remains.
Scudamore first introduced the idea back in 2008 but saw the plans dropped after a tidal wave of opposition from fans, FIFA and UEFA.
Huge interest has surrounded the games involving Liverpool, Leicester, West Brom and Crystal Palace here in Hong Kong, however.
In other sports the NFL are set to play four regular season games in London later this year while Major League Baseball has opened it’s campaign in Japan and Australia in the past.
Scudamore is confident that even though it may take one of his successors to make similar inroads with the Premier League, football could yet follow suit.
“If someone does that’s great.” he said. “It would make it easier for us. We don’t need to be first. Sometimes first up isn’t best dressed.”
Reflecting on the criticism he received when the plans were first mooted he said: “That’s a slight understatement, that I was shot down! I’ve got the scars all the way up my back!
“I may be at the Premier League for another five, ten,15 or 20 years. There is no plan to do it.
“Is there still a burning desire? The clubs would like to do it but we are also realistic in that until the fan, political and media reaction is any more warm towards it, it won’t happen.
“If it did happen it wouldn’t be a 39th game. I think there would be a desire to do a round of fixtures internationally but there is no prospect of it happening any time soon or in anybody’s realistic timeframe. We have no time for it.
“I am a man of belief. I believe it was a good idea to try and do it then and I still do but I understand it is unacceptable. It was about wanting to do it.
“I don’t do anything for a false reaction. I put my neck out and said: ‘I think we should do this.’
“I thought it was the right thing to do I, still do. I just think it would be an unbelievable thing but it’s not going to happen.”
Chelsea and Arsenal are also preparing for the new season in the Far East while Manchester United, City and Spurs are in America.
A sea of Liverpool shirts greeted the Reds’ in their game at the Hong Kong Stadium against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.
Scudamore added: “It was brilliant. I fully understand those who have bought a season ticket and been to every game home and away for the last 25 years. I do.
“I get that they deem themselves to be at the highest echelon of fan commitment. You can’t take that away from anyone.
“But also I think those fans realise that now the Premier League and those clubs’ successes are global success stories. That global success has come from interest that other fans have.
“This is not a patronising false interest. The bit that always strikes a chord is how knowledgeable and passionate they are.
“I would put a lot of people here on these trips up against anyone back home in terms of pub quiz, of knowledge of the club.
“They haven’t walked down through terraced houses or smelt the hot dogs and onions in order to enjoy their PL experience.
“But that’s not to say there isn’t a an appreciation, a knowledge, a passion or an interest. It’s that which is being channelled to make the game what it is.”