x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

39th game plans in doubt

The UAE's hope of hosting a 39th game as part of the English Premier League's world plan look doomed according to Sepp Blatter.

The Fifa president Sepp Blatter is not a fan of the 39th game.
The Fifa president Sepp Blatter is not a fan of the 39th game.

LONDON // The UAE's hope of hosting a 39th game as part of the English Premier League's world plan look doomed according to Sepp Blatter. The Fifa president is not a fan of the idea to play a competitive match overseas, either as an extra game in the league or in the domestic cups. Dubai, with Sports City the venue, and Abu Dhabi were among the possible cities to host such a game from 2011 with the Middle East, Japan, Australia and America seen as prime locations of interest.

The Premier League is still looking at ways to satisfy clubs, the FA and Fifa over its ambitious proposals. It had hoped to include an extra round of league games, which would then be held in five cities around the world, most notably in Asia. A League Cup game has also been considered to help add spark to a competition that often draws small crowds in the early rounds. But despite the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief Mohammed bin Hammam warming to the idea last month, Blatter believes it is a non-event that should be forgotten. He said: "The 39th game as presented will never happen. To my knowledge what they (the Premier League) want to do is perhaps to play some of the League Cup matches somewhere outside of England.

"That's the last information I got. They should just forget about that." @Email:akhan@thenational.ae