Benefits of the Premier League's Foreign Scheme

Jamie BentleyCorrespondent IFebruary 15, 2008

Imagine the scene: A 60,000 seat stadium packed to the rafters with excited football fans who have never seen their team in action before. Banners and replica football shirts can be seen in every direction. The atmosphere is electric. Below the stands of the stadium complex a team in dire straights is preparing for possibly the most expensive survival game in the club's history.

One key factor is missing in this description (I think most people will have grasped the purpose of this article by now): the location.

This could be the outcome if the Premier League did go ahead to play one extra game per season on foreign land. The unfairness of this situation is almost beyond reasoning, but there are benefits to this too.

A club the size of Middlesbrough provides a good example of a team that could benefit from this innovative plan. Middlesbrough are an established Premier League team and I myself am an avid fan. However, in recent years the club has struggled to grow.

There's no point hiding from the fact that money is key to a club's success. The chairman of the Boro, Steve Gibson, is fantastic. He shows constant unquestionable loyalty and backs this up with money, as the recent signing of Afonso Alves shows.

The club needs to progress to the next level in order to satisfy fans by either winning a domestic cup or challenging for a European place. The club did challenge for a European place around four years ago until the likes of West Ham, Aston Villa, and Portsmouth were all bought by billionaire foreign owners. Now the club finds itself hovering around mid-table and the bridge between clubs such as Tottenham is evident, both point and financial wise.

Now imagine this scenario: Middlesbrough replicate their performance against Arsenal earlier in this season against Man Utd, but in Japan.

Japan has a huge Man Utd fan base and if Middlesbrough were to beat them, they would establish themselves as a quality footballing side across the world. Shirt sales would rocket, as would club merchandise, sponsorship AND, most importantly, the club's financial state.

The increase in cash would enable the club to buy better players and pay the wages of these players too. Therefore the club would begin to progress and the gap between other clubs could be bridged without the sacking of beloved Middlesbrough hero Steve Gibson.

There are also disadvantages to this scheme, but i feel the positives needed discussing more than the negatives because the negatives have been highlighted more in the press.