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Asia and Australia slam Premier League's expansion plans

LONDON - Australia and Asia's football associations have rejected the English Premier League's controversial global expansion plans to stage a round of 10 competitive matches across the world.

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Mohamed vin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation, said that he was strongly opposed to the widely criticised plan.

Hammam said: "We'll vote strongly against it. The Premier League are putting money before responsibility and dignity. As far as Asia is concerned, I'm not supportive of this initiative."

The Football Federation of Australia has joined Asia and said that it would oppose the plans because it wants to protect its own domestic A-league.

Sydney and Melbourne were put forward as possible venues for the overseas matches.

Frank Lowy, FFA chairman, said in a statement: "The bottom line is, FFA rejects the notion of another country playing a round of their domestic competition in Australia and intruding on the development of the A-league and the game in Australia."

The international round, mooted to be introduced from the start of 2010-2011, would be in addition to the traditional 38 home and away matches currently played by each of the 20 Premier League Clubs.

Fifa has said that it will not consider the proposal unless it comes from the Football Association rather than the Premier League.

The backlash comes as Deloitte published its Football Money League today revealing that seven British clubs are in the top 20 list of the world's wealthiest clubs by revenue.

Manchester United has moved up from fourth to second position but Real Madrid remains on top for the third consecutive year.

Barcelona came in third, followed by Chelsea, Arsenal and AC Milan.

Manchester United headed the money league for eight years until Real Madrid overtook them.

The figures take into account income from ticket sales, merchandising and broadcasting contracts but do not include transfer revenues and do not calculate profitability.

1. Real Madrid: £236.2m
2. Man Utd: £212.1m
3. Barcelona: £195.3m
4. Chelsea: £190.5m
5. Arsenal: £177.6m
6. AC Milan: £153m
7. Bayern Munich: £150.3m
8. Liverpool: £133.9m
9. Inter Milan: £131.3m
10. AS Roma: £106.1m
Source: Deloitte: 2006/2007

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