All systems go on Euro-Asia alliance, says Pelley

Sun May 29, 2016 11:43am EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - The European Tour's planned alliance with its Asian equivalent is likely to be rubber-stamped in time for next season, chief executive Keith Pelley told Reuters on Sunday.

The two circuits, who first collaborated for a co-sanctioned event 17 years ago, announced in August "an innovative joint vision for the future of professional golf" without going into details.

Talks on the expected union appeared to be in trouble in December when Asian Tour chief executive Mike Kerr resigned for unspecified reasons following player concerns about limited opportunities on the combined circuit.

Pelley, however, now says the two organizations are close to finalizing an agreement that will lead to more tournaments being held in Asia.

"What has transpired with the Asian Tour over the last number of weeks has been incredibly positive," the Canadian told Reuters in an interview held during the final round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

"It has taken time because they have gone through a complete board change. The original Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that we negotiated in November was put on pause until they had a new board in place and they knew what they were doing with their organizational structure.

"We met in Malaysia at the EurAsia Cup with their new board, we then met in India with members of their board and Tournament Committee and they responded about a month ago to our MOU in terms of what they thought would work for their Asian Tour players," added Pelley.

"We've evaluated that... and we're now entering into very serious discussions. Hopefully they will be positive and we will have something new announced very shortly in terms of a strategic alliance."   Continued...