How times change. At the start of 2008, the footballing world rose in anger against an idea dubbed ‘Game 39‘. It would ruin the sanctity of English football, it would cause England their chance to host the World Cup, it would be hurt football in other countries and all the associated arguments.
Fast forward to the end of 2008, AFC president Mohammed Bin Hammam, the man who vehemently opposed any intrusion by the Premier League back in February, is happy to sign an agreement with the English Premier League to work together to explore opportunities for English football clubs to play in Asia.
Bin Hammam added: “We had many questions. What kind of legacy are the teams going to leave behind? Does the club just collect the money and go home or are they going to leave something behind?
“Now we know there will be benefits to Asian Football. Our fans will benefit, our youth will benefit and our coaches will benefit. They will be coming here based on our approval.”
Good to see that you’ve found the right spin to put on the story. The benefits to Asian Football were evident in February, but with even Blatter going quiet on the issue it seems that with the public reaction out of the way the English Premier League and football in general can now get busy finding new ways to make money from football.