LaLiga still wants Miami game
Undeterred by the resistance it faced last season, LaLiga is trying again to take a regular season game to the United States.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation has been asked to allow Villarreal’s home game against Atlético Madrid on December 6 to be moved to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
The renewed push has been launched despite the league gaining no indication that the federation would reverse its opposition which forced the abandonment of plans to take the Barcelona-Girona game to Miami in January.
Approval is needed from the domestic federation, which controls regulations and fixtures throughout Spanish football, including the top-tier competition LaLiga.
The US Soccer Federation would also have to sanction the game being played on its territory, but it had not received a formal request ahead of yesterday’s public announcement from LaLiga. The Spanish game is set for almost a month after the Major League Soccer season has ended.
The league said it had consulted more widely than last season when the Spanish players’ union joined the federation in protesting the plans because their views had not been sought.
“The players and coaches of both teams have been informed and have shown their enthusiasm for being able to play in front of fans in the United States,” the league said in a statement yesterday. “The Association of Spanish Footballers has also been informed of the request.”
While the federation blocked the league from taking a game overseas, it did move its Super Cup to Morocco last year and has talked about taking future editions to Saudi Arabia.
“We can go back to my statements from last year,” federation president Luis Rubiales said. “FIFA’s executive committee has already said that a home game in a local competition must be played at the team’s venue, but if it’s a competition on a neutral site, it can be played abroad. We remain under FIFA and UEFA, so our opinion hasn’t changed.”
The FIFA council opposed the idea last year, although its permission for the match was not mandatory. Approval could be rejected from the regional confederations effected – UEFA in Europe and Concacaf in North America.
Neither FIFA nor the Spanish federation intervened to stop the Copa Libertadores final last year being switched from Buenos Aires to Madrid after the second leg was abandoned in Argentina due to fan violence involving Boca Juniors and River Plate supporters.
The Spanish league last year took legal action against the federation to try to stage the game in the United States.
The league’s plan to play games in the US is part of a new 15-year partnership with sports and entertainment group Relevent, which operates the International Champions Cup, a tournament of club friendlies during the European offseason in July and August around the world.