London, Feb 15: FIFA president Sepp Blatter says he won't let the English Premier League play games abroad and believes the proposal will harm England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
The Premier League announced last week its clubs supported a plan to stage a 39th round of games in five different countries starting from the 2010-11 season. But the idea has led to widespread opposition from fan groups and gained little support around the world, especially in countries expected to host games. The head of the Asian Confederation opposed it and U.S. federation president Sunil Gulati said he would not accept it without FIFA's permission. Blatter also opposed the plan on Thursday.
"This will never happen. At least this will not happen as long
as I am the president of FIFA," Blatter, who remains president
until 2011, told the BBC.
"Those that are richer than the others, they have more responsibility and what the Premier League is trying to do is contrary to this responsibility."
Blatter said the Premier League's proposal was simply to make more money and he believed the FIFA executive committee would oppose it.
"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," he said. "This is something I cannot understand and definitely the FIFA executive committee will not sanction such an initiative."
Blatter's strongly worded opposition to the proposal could force the Premier League into a rethink, especially if he believes that the idea would get so much criticism that it could endanger England's planned bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
"When it comes to a decision of the executive committee concerning this matter of the 39th round, and I am sure they will be against it, then it will not have a positive impact on the bid from England for the World Cup in 2018," he said.
"This is abuse. The rich Premier League is trying to get richer and expand the importance of that league."