Murdoch’s man behind Premier League overseas plans

One of Rupert Murdoch's right hand men, Sir Rod Eddington, has been revealed as a major player in the Premier League’s proposals to stage competitive fixtures abroad.

And the plan which Premier League chief Richard Scudamore pitched to twenty top flight chairmen last week was in fact hatched by an Australian firm – the Victorian Major Events Company, of which Eddington is Chairman.

Former British Airways Chief executive, and current director of Murdoch’s News Corporation Sir Rod Eddington encouraged an initially reluctant Scudamore to consider the idea last year, pointing out the huge potential for TV rights and brand development.

Apparently Eddington stressed to Scudamore playing meaningless exhibition games wouldn’t yield the sort of financial return top tier clubs would demand, and was persuasive enough to prompt the Premier League’s chief executive to dream up the extra Premier League fixture.

And Sir Rod Eddington’s long-standing association with Rupert Murdoch and News Corp - which owns 39 per cent of Sky – could mean the Australian media mogul, who provided the initial impetus for the Premiership’s foundation in 1992, has his eye on a slice of the new abroad proposal pie.

After all, Murdoch, a known and close associate of Scudamore’s, owns Fox TV in America, Foxtel in his native Australia, and Star TV in Asia, which broadcasts to the world's most populous nations, China and India.

But any notion Aussies Murdoch and Eddington entertained that Premier League matches might be played “Down Under” appear doomed after the Football Federation of Australia’s rejection of the proposal. And comments from the Asian Football Confederation’s, Mohamed bin Hammam suggested they are also highly sceptical.

All of which left Sir Rod Eddington conceding: “It's unlikely to happen if the authorities are not in favour and both the Australian federation and the Asian Football Confederation have come out in opposition."