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No to Game 39
by Asa Butcher
2008-02-15 09:26:45
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Over the last few decades, football has been threatened with any number of outlandish commercial ideas ranging from the introduction of American Football style time outs to playing on AstroTurf, but the latest idea - if we are generous enough to call it that - from the Premier League defies belief and has already seen 10,000 football fans emphatically saying "No to Gam£ 39".

On February 7th, all 20 top flight clubs agreed to a proposal to investigate the feasibility of extending the Premier League season to 39 games - the resulting ten extra fixtures would be played at venues around the world, with cities bidding for the right to stage them. Yes, you read that correctly, the Premier League wants to ship out ten league fixtures abroad to various cities around the globe via an Olympic style bidding race.

If the plan is agreed, then the 39th round of games would begin from January 2011 probably in cities across Asia, the Middle East and North America, each of whom have taken a greater interest in Premiership football over the last few years. A final decision will be taken before the Premier League's annual summer meeting in June, but Football Supporters’ Federation Chairman Malcolm Clarke has challenged the FAPL to drop the proposal if a majority of fans are against the move.

Once again it is time for supporters of all of England's Premiership teams to unite and declare in one loud voice, "No to Gam£ 39!" It may be hard to believe but the announcement has sparked widespread criticism and nobody has been convinced that this is purely about promoting the Premiership and expanding the potential fan base - the only incentive for this idea is financial gain and the money certainly won't end up benefitting the supporters.

Earlier this week Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam denounced the idea stating that the Premier League is putting money before responsibility and dignity, "We'll vote strongly against it… as far as Asia is concerned, I'm not supportive of this initiative." Well said, President bin Hammam, but I strongly doubt that everybody will have the same moral code; instead they will be blinded by pound signs.

What will happen next? Will the best Premiership players be gathered together to create the football equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters? Will they start touring the world, dazzling foreign fans with their skills? I just don't understand even the basics of this initiative, since it is so obviously commercially driven. We already have the Champions League, greater TV coverage and sponsored cups, so what does this idea hope to achieve?

The Football Supporters’ Federation are planning local action at every Premiership club, inviting supporters of all teams to unite under the banner NO TO GAM£ 39. However, here are a couple of things that you, as a football fan, can do right now:

Sign the petition
The FSF have set up an online petition so that fans can register their disgust direct to the 20 Premier League clubs, the Premier League themselves and a number of other key players in the football industry. Sign the petition here.

Volunteer to join in the protest
Let the FSF know what you’d be prepared to do to protest against these plans, what ideas you have for a supporters' protest and what you can do to help. Email: notogame39@fsf.org.uk.

Join our Facebook Group
Join our NO TO GAM£ 39 Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8509374162

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Asa2008-02-15 10:03:04
Just saw this:

The president of football's world governing body Fifa has told the BBC that plans by the Premier League to host games abroad will never happen.


Clint2008-02-15 19:17:08
It's not often I support Sepp Blatter but you and the big boss are totally right this time. What a bunch of jokers these Premier League bosses are. Total embarrasment. It's bad enough when they make Newcastle play in London on a Friday night let alone in Sydney. Television rules the game these days with no thought to the fans. As Abba sang Money Money Money.

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