President of AFC now relaxed about Premier League games in Asia

Mohammed Bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation, initially condemned the idea of Game 39, as it was called, that would see the 20 Premier League clubs play an extra round of matches in foreign cities over one weekend in January, but he has now changed his stance.

Bin Hammam, who met league chief executive Richard Scudamore in China earlier this month, said: "I had a chance to talk to the Premier League and I told them, 'If you want to come to Asia I will welcome you. I don't have a problem with that. Fans in Asia they love to see your football.'

"I would welcome the Premier League playing in Asia but I would like to see the Premier League come to me through their national association or their confederation.

"In football, that structure has to be maintained otherwise we are going to have chaos.

"If that happens, I will be the first one to welcome them. This is the only way. We can't accept it any differently in Asia.

"Yes there is a lot of money in football and a few clubs are getting the biggest share of this income from TV and sponsorship but this shouldn't stop us from doing things in the right way."

The Middle East or Hong Kong would prove likely destinations for any international fixtures.

However, Bin Hammam warned no country would be able to talk to the Premier League without the AFC and FIFA's consent and the latter's hard-line stance is an obvious stumbling block.