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Premiership goes global with international round

The 20 Barclays Premier League clubs have unanimously agreed to further examine a proposal that would see 10 competitive fixtures hosted in five major cities over one weekend.

The extra round would begin in January 2010/11 - and would be in addition to the traditional 38 home and away matches each of the 20 clubs currently play.

The proposal will take at least a year to finalise but Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore is already excited by the globalisation of the British game, which could give armchair fans the chance to watch 10 league games back-to-back from Saturday morning to Sunday night.

Scudamore said: "The clubs have agreed to further examine a proposal which creates a new round of 10 competitive fixtures to be played overseas.

"We have not voted to do it or how it will be done, we have voted to examine the proposal.

"We are excited about it. The clubs are excited about it. We have been wrestling with how we might do something internationally for some time.

"We have been inundated in the last five years with a whole host of proposals. But they all looked a little contrived until this one got developed.

"We set ourselves some very key principles. The primary one was that it had to be for all the clubs to benefit from.

"This proposal, as currently drafted, does not take anything away from the league. It is adding to it.

"We know what makes us strong and that is the fans.

"However, we are at a point where we recognise this is a world game and sport has become a globalised business.

"Our huge international profile and exporting our football abroad have brought huge benefits to the English game.

"An international round is a response to that ever-globalising effect.

"It is going to be a year before we will be in a position to say with any certainty whether this will happen or not.

"There is the calendar issue, the commerciality issue, and the sanctioning issue.

"We are three years away from the first ball being kicked, if it is to be kicked. It will take that time to consult with the people we need to consult with.

"It needs a whole lot of thinking through. But the point we tell the clubs is the point you tell the world."

The plan for 10 games to be played over one weekend, depending on the choice of the five host cities, could find supporters sitting at home and watching all the games one after the other until Sunday night.

Scudamore said: "The clubs believe the time has come for this.

"The league can never stand still. We are either moving forward or backward. But standing still does not work in any environment.

"This proposal has captured the imagination of the 20 clubs. There is a difference between symmetry and integrity. What we currently have is a perfectly symmetrical league. That is not the same thing as integrity.

"What this proposition does, I admit, it alters by one 39th the perfect symmetry that currently exists.

"The minute the pre-season ends, we will get on and draw these fixtures because you don't have to worry about pairing the clubs in terms of home and away.

"They know they will be playing against another team for one weekend of the season - but they won't know who they will be playing.

"We have no host cities identified or already agreed. We have to make sure the fans who want to go can go and it is affordable.

"The criteria for the host cities will have to be where there is no risk of the game being postponed. Therefore, it won't be in Moscow or Helsinki.

"We won't be playing anywhere there is a climatic risk. I would refute this is a commercially driven exercise. But it is a way of taking the Premier League forward.

"If we don't do it, somebody else will. We are in a great position to do this. It is a very positive move. It is a medium to long-term solution.

"We are promoting the clubs first then the league and thirdly, Britain. It is a success story a lot of people around the world envy."

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