Twins expected for top flight clubs

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Premier League clubs and their counterparts in the Asian Champions League are set to be twinned together as the English league continues to rebuild bridges following the public relations disaster of the controversial '39th game'.

Chief executive Richard Scudamore joined Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam to announce the initiative as plans to revamp the continent's leading club competition were about to be unveiled.

"It's very important for our strategic development to find out from all parts of the world what football is really like," said Scudamore. "We understand that not all football is like how it is in England. If we are going to expand and develop then we have to learn from the people who really know."

He added: "In exchange for that we are prepared to share our knowledge and expertise and if other people feel we have that then we are more than happy to do that.

"This exchange will take place at an administrative level, with administrators of clubs, at a technical level in terms of coaching and it will take place club-to-club through twinning and any organisational meetings with the clubs in any format we will be happy to attend."

Scudamore expects five or six clubs will work with their Asian counterparts to begin with as part of the Premier League's on-going commitment to developing the game beyond their own backyard.

The AFC, meanwhile, will expand their Champions League from next year, increasing from 28 to 32 teams as the confederation attempts to usher in an increased level of professionalism in club football in Asia.

"We want to show some solidarity with the AFC with the relaunching of the Champions League," said Scudamore.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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