Premier League playing 39th game in U.S. not 'that far away' - ICC chief

The chairman of the International Champions Cup organisers says the Premier League is not "that far away" from switching to an unbalanced schedule that would allow for a 39th game to be played abroad.

The Premier League had proposed adding an extra round to its schedule in 2008, but eventually gave up on the idea after opposition from both fans and FIFA.

But top European clubs have been drawn to the International Champions Cup -- a summer tournament held in the U.S., China and Australia -- as a way to expand their brands, and Relevant Sport chairman Charlie Stillitano said adding a game to the domestic league schedule would be "a logical step."

The NFL will again play four games in London in 2017, while Major League Baseball has opened its season in Japan and Australia in the past, and Stillitano believes clubs in the Premier League and elsewhere in Europe would benefit from following the American example.

"We joke around about it, but I think that everyone does try to follow the U.S. model and the NFL and Major League Baseball, and I don't think it is that crazy to think there will be a 39th game here," Stillitano told ESPN FC's Max & Herc podcast. "The Premier League have already rolled out [plans] -- I don't think it is extraordinary news.

"The issue there is every league has a balanced schedule so you can't take away a home game from Real Madrid, or can you imagine Osasuna has a game, they have Real Madrid come in, and we move it somewhere else? I mean, there is consequences to that.

"I think Premier League is looking to do a bit of a imbalanced schedule if you will, which seems to be a pretty reasonable thing to do, I guess.

"This way no one loses a home game, and you hear about this all the time the leagues that are trying to promote themselves and get their brand out there that it is probably a logical step."

Stillitano has tried to shake up European football before. He met with English clubs a year ago to discuss ideas to ensure the biggest teams were guaranteed spots in the Champions League, and thereby make the competition more profitable.

And though he admitted his proposals have not always made him very popular figure around the Premier League, he still thinks clubs would "benefit in a long run."

"Yeah it might be heresy," he said of a 39th game, "but I don't think it is something that is that far away. I don't."