'Expansion plans dead' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 24, 2008

Barclays English Premier League

'Expansion plans dead'

Arsene Wenger fears Premier League plans to play a round of fixtures in cities across the world have been killed off by the negative response to the proposals.
Wenger was one of the few leading figures in the game not to completely reject the scheme when it was mooted by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore earlier this month.
Football's major governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA, both expressed their contempt for the idea, while the English Football Association claimed it was unsustainable in its current form.
Now the Arsenal manager concedes the attempt to add a 39th set of matches in cities like Tokyo, Sydney or Bangkok is unlikely to get off the ground.
"The idea looks to be dead, maybe because the idea came out in a brutal way and maybe the PR was not done before," Wenger said. If you don't give yourself time to prepare people for new ideas, sometimes it gets a lot of resistance and reluctance from the start.
"Now it looks to be an idea which is in a very difficult position.
"I was open-minded but as well I will not cry if it doesn't happen. I just felt there was something to explore there which will now not be done.
"It looks difficult to resurrect now because UEFA, FIFA and the FA have come out against it. It is a big stream to swim against now."
Wenger is more concerned about keeping his side fresh as they finish a gruelling week with a trip to Birmingham in the Premier League on Saturday.
A win would open up an eight point lead over second placed Manchester United, who face Newcastle later Saturday.
But the Gunners have played tough matches against United and AC Milan in the seven days, while Birmingham have been inactive since February 9.
Wenger is counting the absentees, with Kolo Toure, Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby and Robin van Persie all sidelined and Emmanuel Eboue suspended.
But the French coach does at least welcome back goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, while Emmanuel Adebayor and Alexander Hleb will travel to St Andrews' despite carrying knocks.
"We can cope with the number of games we have played and sometimes it is a disadvantage for the team who doesn't play," Wenger said.
"We have one advantage because we have the rhythm of competition; the disadvantage for us is that we have the fatigue factor.
Birmingham have the advantage of freshness because they have recovered completely but they have not got the rhythm of competition.
"So let's just take it as it is. I know my players are focused, they want to do well and that is the best way to prepare."

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