English Premier League consider extending biennial summer tournament to Africa and US
Pitch condition high on agenda after Asia Trophy downpours
A VIEW of the pitch during the Asia Trophy Final match between Manchester City and Sunderland at Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore conceded that pitch condition and location were among lessons to be learned following the torrential rain that threatened to ruin this year’s event. Photograph: Getty Images
The Premier League will consider expanding its biennial summer tournament around the world after the chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said Africa and the US are among the possible hosts for a tournament similar to the Asia Trophy, which was won by Manchester City on Saturday in Hong Kong.
While Scudamore conceded pitch condition and location were among lessons to be learned following the torrential rain that threatened to ruin this year’s event, he said of holding other competitions elsewhere in two years’ time: “If we were to expand it all, there would be more venues rather than more teams. We wouldn’t play more teams in one tournament – you’d be better off going to new places. So one in Asia, maybe one in Africa, America, something like that. At the same time of year. Take more teams but in different tournaments.”
Of the heavy downpours that came close to preventing any matches being played on the Hong Kong Stadium pitch, he added: “We have to be happy that we got four matches away and four matches away safely. There will be a good debrief, obviously there are lessons to be learned, there always are. We probably are going to have to put some stricter criteria on pitch provision. We will make pitch quality and pitch durability, sustainability and preparation as very important criteria.”
City beat Sunderland 1-0 in the final, while Tottenham Hotspur defeated South China 6-0 in the third-place game.
Scudamore also revealed the Premier League has made it easier for clubs to take a larger contingent of away fans. “Keeping away attendances high is our most strategically important thing just now,” he said. “We have changed the rules. It was quite brutal. You either had to take 1,500 or 3,000 on a sale or return basis. It is quite difficult for a club who might have 2,000 who could come. They are not going to take the extra 1,500 and not sell 1,000. You can take whatever allocation you can agree as long as you sell half of them.”