Fergie: 39th game would be 'impossible'

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Sir Alex Ferguson can see no legitimate reason for a '39th game' - and for Manchester United, there would be no room to play it anyway.

United have found a far more straightforward way of expanding the season. Qualification for the Club World Cup in Japan has not only added two extra games, it has also forced the postponement of a domestic meeting with Wigan, ensuring space in midweek during 2009 will be at a premium as well.

"I don't think there will ever be a 39th game and I don't believe there should be," said Ferguson. "I certainly am not in favour of it. You look at our domestic programme allied to our cup competitions. It is impossible."

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has been quietly trying to win over those who were originally so opposed to the scheme.

Some, such as Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam, have been won over. Traditionalists such as Ferguson may never be shifted.

Instead, Ferguson prefers to be challenged and learn from, different football cultures, Japan's Gamba Osaka on Thursday and, probably, Ecuador's LDU Quito on Sunday.

"Playing different opposition doesn't do us any harm," said Ferguson. "For a start, the improvement in Japanese football since we first came here on tour in 1989 is obvious.

"There is tremendous improvement in terms of technical ability and the organisation ability of the teams.

"It is a young country as far as football is concerned but it is an up and coming country in the sport who are producing some very good footballers now."

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

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