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Liverpool owners disagree on Premier League games abroad as FSG chief reveals 'crazy' idea

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner speaks to someone as he makes his way out onto the pitch at Anfield
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


The concept of playing Premier League games abroad has proven a controversial subject for some time. It seems Liverpool’s owners can’t agree on the matter either.

The idea has re-emerged after FIFA took a step closer to allowing domestic leagues to play competitive matches away from their home countries. A working group that will issue recommendations on the matter was confirmed last month.

La Liga has already made its plans clear to play league matches abroad by 2025 (via The Guardian), although the Premier League says it has no plans to do the same. A similar idea has been toyed with in the past, though.

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The Premier League abandoned plans for a 39th game to be played away from the UK more than a decade ago amid strong backlash. Despite fans largely showing opposition to the idea of playing games abroad, Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has admitted he would be in favor.

“I’m determined one day to have a Premier League game be played in New York City,” Werner told the Financial Times. "I even have the sort of crazy idea that there would be a day where we play one game in Tokyo, one game a few hours later in Los Angeles, one game a few hours later in Rio, one game a few hours later in Riyadh and make it sort of a day where football, where the Premier League, is celebrated.”

Werner did concede the plan would have a major flaw in accommodating supporters. “Let’s figure out a way to offer them very cheap travel [and] accommodations so that if Liverpool is playing Nottingham Forest, we will support fans coming to New York and make this an attractive thing for the fans as well,” he added.

It’s an idea though that seemingly wouldn’t get support elsewhere from FSG. Approached by FT to respond to Werner’s suggestion, Liverpool owner John Henry said it is “not something that I advocate or am particularly interested in”.

Liverpool.com says: Let’s hope Werner has his hard hat on, as his comments will almost certainly lead to some strong backlash, not only from Liverpool supporters, but from elsewhere. Henry’s refusal to advocate the idea shows how controversial an idea it would be.

The Liverpool owner is probably remembering the fallout from the European Super League plans just a few years ago, and the embarrassing climb down he had to make. The general feeling among supporters for games abroad is pretty clear, and Werner coming out in support of the idea is a risky move to say the least.

For the time being at least, it seems the Premier League won’t be following through on the prospect. Werner’s comments though will likely leave supporters feeling concerned that the idea isn’t quite out of the question.