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FIFA thumbs down for '39th game'

  • Story Highlights
  • FIFA executive committee opposed to international round of Premier League
  • President Sepp Blatter has been outspoken critic of the '39th step'
  • FIFA confirm decision to abandon goal-line technology trials
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ZURICH, Switzerland -- The Premier League's plan for an extra round of overseas matches was given a unanimous thumbs down by FIFA's executive committee on Friday.


Blatter took centerstage at the meeting of the FIFA executive committee.

Sepp Blatter, president of football's world governing body, said even former Football Association chairman Geoff Thompson -- now a FIFA vice-president -- was in opposition to the '39th step'.

"This idea for the Premier League to play a 39th round outside country does not work.

"They would be playing 12 hours away west and east and 24 hours difference in the south," he said.

Premier League chiefs abandoned a meeting with Blatter in the face of widespread opposition to the radical plan which would have commenced in the 2010-2011 season.

Failure to gain the backing of the Football Association was a key factor but the Premier League have said they will rework their proposals.

In other developments from Friday's meeting, Blatter has insisted he will wait until the outcome of a corruption court case before commenting on allegations that a senior football figure received bribes.

Nicolas Leoz, the president of South American football and a member of FIFA's executive committee, has been named in court documents in the case in Zug, Switzerland, as having been paid $130,000 by officials from FIFA's former marketing agency ISL.

Six ISL employees face charges but neither Leoz nor any other FIFA official is in the dock.

Blatter also revealed that a controversial decision to halt trials of goal-line technology had been given full backing by the world governing body's football and technical committees.

The Premier League were furious at the decision after investing hundreds of thousands of dollars on developing the Hawkeye system.

But Blatter said: "Both the football committee, chaired by Franz Beckenbauer, and the technical committee supported the International FA Board.

After a wide-ranging meetiing, Blatter also announced that he and UEFA president Michel Platini would be going to Brussels next month to push his idea of introducing a rule where teams can only have a maximum of five foreigners.

He added: "The executive committee has unanimously stated this is a positive solution but we do not want to clash with European Union laws concerning free movement of workers.

"We will meet in Brussels on April 8 and 9 to speak to people from the Commission and European Parliament." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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