Barcelona and Girona submit formal proposal to move La Liga game to United States

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.
Gab Marcotti details how playing in the United States can benefit all La Liga clubs, not just headline acts Barcelona and Real Madrid.

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 suburban Miami on Jan. 26, 2019.

The document was signed by La Liga president Javier Tebas, Barcelona chief Josep Maria Bartomeu and his Girona counterpart, Delfi Geli.

The plan for a regular-season game to be played overseas, which is part of La Liga’s 15-year marketing agreement with Relevent Sports, has been controversial and requires approval of the RFEF and other organisations.

Spain’s sports minister, Jose Guirao, had said that La Liga must find a way to expand overseas without its interests conflicting with the home fans. It appears La Liga has made progress in that respect.

Part of the agreement is for fans of the teams involved to be compensated for missing out on a home game while the subsidised travel and accommodation would be for home season ticket holders.

Tebas recently said that up to 1,500 fans would go for free and those that would have to pay would get back a percentage of their season ticket fee. Moreover, compensation would be given to their season-ticket holders.

“The submission has been made after successfully completing the first key steps with several stakeholders,” the La Liga statement added. “One of the elements of the request is the compensation offered to Girona season-ticket holders, who have this fixture included in their season ticket. Aficiones Unidas (AFEPE), an association of fan clubs, has welcomed this compensation package.”

La Liga met with the Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) on Monday to discuss the game in the United States. The players were unanimously against this but will now receive a detailed report from La Liga before making a final decision.

La Liga also need the approval of Spain’s sports council, UEFA, U.S. Soccer and CONCACAF.

“It has to be done with the blessing of all parties involved,” Its vice-president Jordi Cardoner told reporters on Tuesday. The platform which playing a game in Miami offers us is interesting for football and for our club. But it has to be done with the blessing of everyone. I’m sure it’s a positive [move] for football.”