Gary Neville railed against Premier League shareholders after they reignited plans to play fixtures overseas, an idea vehemently opposed by the Football Association and fans themselves
Gary Neville called for regulation of the Premier League after shareholders held a meeting last week to re-examine the possibility of playing fixtures overseas.
Top-flight chiefs are keen to tap into emerging markets where there are billions of potential new fans as they look to continue the growth of the competition.
As reported by The Athletic , China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and the USA were earmarked as countries to target during a meeting in the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone, London.
Plans to enhance the Premier League’s global appeal could begin with a pre-season tournament in the United States next summer.
But domestic fans may be concerned to hear playing competitive matches abroad was also discussed.
The top flight’s annual general meeting in June raised the idea of “taking Premier League matches to the world” and these plans progressed last week.
The report adds crafting a “roadmap for meaningful matches abroad” was on the agenda.
The Premier League is still many years away from facilitating competitive matches overseas but former chief executive Richard Scudamore has no doubt the controversial change will occur one day.
Scudamore proposed the idea over a decade ago and in August 2014 he declared: “It will happen at some point.”
In 2008, the former top-flight chief explored the idea of playing a “39th game” – an extra round of fixtures at five different overseas venues which would see clubs earn roughly £5million per game.
The proposals were roundly criticised by the Football Association, UEFA and FIFA, and most-vehemently by fans themselves.
Many saw the plans as a blatant cash grab which showed the contempt the Premier League holds its fans in.
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News the idea of playing games abroad is back on the table is sure to reignite such feelings, especially as it comes just months after the doomed European Super League (ESL) was formed and quickly shelved.
Former Manchester United and England defender Neville was bitterly opposed to the ESL and he was furious to hear about the latest “grab” attempt.
Responding to a tweet by The Athletic journalist David Ornstein, he wrote: “They don’t learn this lot do they? Enough now, Regulator please ASAP to stop these grabs.”
He tagged Nadine Dorries, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Tracey Crouch MP, who is spearheading a fan-led review of the way football is governed.
Neville also shared a tweet from the Football Supporters’ Association which said: “Following the #ESL scandal back in April the PL said: ‘We will work with fans, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA, as well as other stakeholders, at home and abroad, to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game.’ Lasted five months.”