Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Friday February 15 2008
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has come to the possible rescue of English Premier League fans by saying he would not allow the circus proposed by Richard Scudamore with the pathetic 39th game.
Blatter said: 'This does not take into consideration the fans of the clubs and it gives the impression that they just want to go on tour to make some money. This will never happen, at least as long as I am the president of FIFA.` Adding, 'The Premier League is richer than the others, they have more responsibility and what they are trying to do is contrary to this responsibility. This is something I cannot understand and definitely the FIFA executive committee will not sanction such an initiative.'
The Premier League had suggested it could go ahead with the plan without FIFA sanctioning it but Blatter says that is not the case explaining: 'It is not true. Even if the FA did sanction it, all the national associations receiving these clubs would have to sanction it also. This will be very difficult. In addition to that, the FIFA executive committee will apply article two of the FIFA statutes: 'to prevent all methods or practices which might jeopardise the integrity of matches or competitions or give rise to abuse of association football'. This is abuse. The rich Premier League is trying to get richer and wants to expand the importance of that league.`
The US Soccer Federation and the Asian Football Confederation have both already distanced themselves from the idea.
Meanwhile the Football Supporters Federation are planning to continue with their meetings to drive home the message that the 39th Game initiative is not welcome. They have released a statement confirming that the campaign meetings and rallies around England, starting with London on Monday night (18/2/08) will proceed.
The statement reads:
SUPPORTERS RESPOND TO BLATTER STATEMENT
The Football Supporters' Federation has vowed to step up its NO TO GAM£ 39 - A MATCH TOO FAR! Campaign following FIFA President Sepp Blatter's opposition to the Premier League's proposal.
In statement issued today (Fri 15/2/08) the FSF said:
Whilst Herr Blatter's statement is welcome, this doesn't mean the danger of the Premier League pressing ahead has passed. Supporters need to keep the pressure up. We confirm that we'll be proceeding with next week's campaign meetings around England.
FSF Chair Malcolm Clarke said, 'We might have gone one up ten minutes into the game, but there's still a long way to go. We'll be fighting right to the final whistle. We can't afford to be complacent or think this proposal is off the table.'
Details of the meetings: Click Here
The FSF petition (nearly 12 000 signatures): Click Here
Vital Football petition (5300 signatures) Click Here
Date:Friday February 15 2008
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