While English Premier League clubs may be keen on the idea of bringing the league’s regular season games abroad, the approval of FIFA as well as the national associations where the games would be played would also be required, and this may prove to be a potential stumbling block, the International Business Times reports. UEFA, soccer’s European governing body, for instance, has already voiced its disapproval about the EPL exporting games—although UEFA would have no direct jurisdiction over the matter. Fan groups, meanwhile, have also voiced their opposition to the idea.
In an interview, U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati, who is also a FIFA executive committee member, explains just how tricky bringing the EPL to the U.S., for example, could be. “You’d have to look at the effects on the domestic league and on the other regulations of FIFA when you have cross-border play or in this case two teams from abroad playing in an official competition,” he said. “That’s different from exhibition games, which are frequently played in various places around the world."
Gulati goes on to point out that these exhibition games often compete with domestic leagues, and for U.S. Soccer, at least, the results have not been 100 percent positive. “I think there’s mixed results from that,” he said. “Clearly it gives people a sampling of games from around the world, especially in a country like the United States where you have such large immigrant communities. It gives them the chance to follow a team from home. Obviously to an extent that it might be during the MLS season or in the [second-tier] [North American Soccer League] season, or whatever it might be, and then in the same market, then it may not be so positive.”
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen what FIFA thinks of the idea.