The Premier League has postponed a meeting with, casting more doubt over its controversial plan to play an additional round of league fixtures overseas.
Since the plan was unveiled by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore earlier this month there has been mounting criticism from at home and abroad, with both FIFA and UEFA expressing their disapproval.
In a statement the Premier League said more time was needed to consult with professionals within the game before talking to FIFA.
“We need to conduct further internal studies and consultation before seeking the advice of the world governing body FIFA and the key confederations,” the statement read.
“This project is still very much in its infancy, was always subject to development, clarification and wide consultation and we remain disappointed that these facts and many others were lost when early opinions were formed by many without any detailed knowledge.
“Having consulted with FIFA, we have decided to delay our planned visit whilst we conduct further work prior to addressing them and their confederations formally.”
The plan has already been branded “a joke” by UEFA president Michel Platini while FIFA boss Sepp Blatter was equally hostile, saying it could even harm England’s bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.
Despite so much resistance, the Premier League said the plan was not dead.
“We sincerely believe that the Premier League has much to offer the development of the game internationally as witnessed by the many federations and leagues that currently seek our involvement and advice,” the statement said.
“There never has been a rush to conclude these matters and we are more than willing to take time to develop our proposals further before seeking approval, without which it is not our intention to proceed.”
FIFA said it was happy with the Premier League’s decision to conduct further studies before meeting.
“FIFA welcomes the Premier League’s decision and initiative, which re-establishes the positive and constructive relations between the FA, the FA Premier League and world football’s governing body,” it said in a statement.
“FIFA is happy with this development and thanks the Premier League leadership for its constructive approach.”