(WFI) Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore will use a visit to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in Kuala Lumpur next week to highlight the Premier League’s support for England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Domestically the English Premier League (EPL) has been heavily criticized for not helping to plug the hole in England 2018’s finances.
But the EPL is such a potent brand that it generates global goodwill and interest in the bid that marketing money cannot buy. Last week Scudamore argued the Premier League’s “exposure combined with the clubs’ communications and marketing expertise” give England’s bid a presence and impact around the world “worth millions of pounds”.
Given the EPL’s exposure, Scudamore’s very presence at the AFC is considered by sources close to England 2018 to be important to its bid.
Although Scudamore’s primary objective is to promote the interests of the EPL, he will be talking up England’s chances for 2018.
Several key members of the FIFA executive – the 24-man body charged with the task of deciding the destination of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups next December – will be present in Kuala Lumpur.
These include FIFA vice president Chung Mong Joon of South Korea; Ex-Comm members Japan’s Junji Ogura, Thailand’s Worawi Makudi and Qatar’s Mohamed Bin Hammam, who also serves as AFC president.
Australia’s World Cup bid chairman Frank Lowy is also expected to attend.
Scudamore’s visit is being described as a “knowledge sharing” trip. He will give a presentation to the AFC Professional Leagues Committee in which he will talk about the Premier League’s operations, including how it sells TV rights, works with government and deals with regulatory challenges.
The controversial 39th game proposal will not form part of Scudamore’s presentation.
With the latest round of overseas TV rights covering the period 2010-13 currently
being tied up, this is not on the EPL’s immediate agenda.
But WFI understands that Scudamore is keen to revisit the concept of further international exposure of the EPL at a later date.
Scudamore will seek to build on the EPL’s good relationship with the AFC. In October 2008, Mohamed Bin Hammam was a special guest of the Premier League at its international good causes launch at the British Council in London.
Bin Hammam has subsequently come out in support of the 39th game.
The Premier League also has an extensive grassroots training program – Premier Skills – that it runs in partnership with the British Council in a number of Asian countries, including Vietnam, China, India, Malaysia and South Korea.
The biannual Barclays Asia Trophy pre-season tournaments, most recently staged in China and hosted in partnership with national associations, are also considered an important fillip for domestic football in Asia.
Scudamore will be joined at the AFC meetings by Manchester United CEO David Gill and former Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon.
Written by James Corbett
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