The English Premier League, EPL is once again considering the idea of playing competitive matches abroad. The concept of a ’39th game’ was aborted back in 2008 amid fierce criticism. But clubs are now understood to be considering playing an existing, rather than extra, round of matches overseas, keeping the season at 38 games. Talks are at an early stage but such a proposal could come to fruition by the end of the decade. The Premier League is also open to formalising and extending its pre-season Asia Trophy. England’s top clubs want to build on the popularity of the league abroad following huge attendances at pre-season friendlies in the United States of America, USA this summer – Manchester United’s game against European champions Real Madrid in Michigan attracted a record crowd for America of 109,318. The Premier League has also been influenced by United States basketball league the NBA and American football competition the NFL playing regular matches in London in recent seasons. The first of three NFL games to be played at Wembley this season took place in front of a sell-out crowd on 28 September, and two more are scheduled for 26 October and 9 November. However, any attempt to play a regular season fixture abroad is bound to meet strong resistance from English football fans. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore spoke about the concept at a pre-season event in August. “The clubs wanted it then [in 2008] and they would all probably want it now,” he said.