La Liga FIFA clash as Javier Tebas hits back at Gianni Infantino’s in U.S. concerns

With reports that Girona are set to face Barcelona in Miami this coming January, the FC crew share their varying opinions on La Liga coming to the U.S.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has branded FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s comments “incoherent” regarding the proposed match in Miami between Barcelona and Girona.

Infantino has expressed reservations about La Liga’s plans to stage games overseas, following a 15-year marketing agreement with Relevent Sports in order to promote the sport.

La Liga have made a formal request to the Royal Spanish Football Federation for Girona’s home league game against Barcelona to be staged at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Jan. 26, 2019.

“I would have liked for him to have had another opinion,” Tebas said. “Those remarks seem to me incoherent with everything that is happening in football [in the U.S.] and with Major League Soccer.

“We need careful consideration as it would be rather clumsy of us if we only went there to play 90 minutes and then left. We are going to do a lot more. We are going to make football better known there.”

Barcelona president Jose Maria Bartomeu has defended La Liga’s plans.

“We really like the idea but it doesn’t depend on us,” Bartomeu told Onda Cero radio. 

“If there is no agreement with all parties, then the game will not be played there. But we have a duty to promote football and La Liga, which is the best in the world.

“There’s a big interest from the majority of the top division clubs that when this is repeated, other clubs can do it,” he said.

Bartomeu also attempted to play down concerns by some that the Catalan derby between Girona and Barcelona would be used as a propaganda tool for pro-Catalan independence.

“The clubs need to distance themselves from the political debate,” Bartomeu said.

“It’s evident that politics is in sports. There’s freedom of speech. But the way we see it, this is an official game, three points at stake and if we can play overseas, in the United States, to promote La Liga all the better because it’s beneficial — not just for the big clubs, but for all because there will be more revenue.”