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English soccer embraces payback for Asian money

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Perhaps it's just a clever ploy to sell the caffeine-packed drinks produced by the competition's title sponsor.

Domestic supporters of English clubs wanting to instantly discover their next opponent in the League Cup will have to be awake at 4:15 a.m. on Thursday.

The second-ranked cup competition's draw masters aren't pulling an all-nighter. Dancing to the tune of their Asian title sponsor, Football League officials are uprooting to Beijing to pick out the balls containing holder Manchester United's name and other Premier League powers. Fans can't even watch the draw on television because British broadcasters aren't committing resources to a pre-dawn show.

There was inevitable wailing on social media from fans feeling disrespected and the growing influence of commercial interests on soccer. Followed, within hours of the original announcement, by a lengthy justification of the decision to take the draw to China.

"We understand that not everyone will agree on the timing," the Football League........

© Japan Today