Thu | Oct 18, 2018

Spanish FA withholds approval of match in US

Published:Saturday | September 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM

BARCELONA, Spain (AP):

The Spanish league's plan to play a regular-season match in the United States was put in serious doubt yesterday after the national football federation refused to give its approval, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.

The person told The Associated Press that the federation sent a letter to league officials withholding its authorisation of playing of a competitive match between Barcelona and Girona on January 26 in suburban Miami unless certain conditions are met. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person is not authorised to speak publicly on the matter.

According to the person, the federation told the league it has failed to show that the overseas match would comply with Spanish and international regulations and TV broadcast contracts, and that it would not harm the other 18 league clubs and the fans of Girona and Barcelona.

The federation requested more documentation from the league on the proposal, but the person with knowledge of the situation told the AP that it believed the "holes" in the league's proposal are "insurmountable."

Shortly after receiving the letter, Spanish league president Javier Tebas said he still hopes to hold the match in Miami.

"The game is still on," Tebas said. "We believe we are right, and we will try to show that to the relevant authorities. We are going to respond to everything they say and we will keep working."

Tebas said that the match was critical to increasing the league's global reach and rivalling the richer Premier League in England.

"This match is very important in our strategic plan in the United States," Tebas said. "I can assure you that we are not going to just accept that they tell us no."

Tebas did not explain what possible options the league could have of circumventing the federation's refusal, other than convincing federation president Luis Rubiales to change his mind.