President of FIFA Gianni Infantino doesn’t seem impressed with La Liga’s plans to play a regular-season game in Miami in January, 2019.
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Barcelona, Girona and La Liga have applied to the Spanish Football Federation to move their match on Jan. 26, 2019 from Girona’s home stadium to Miami, Florida in a bid to attract new fans.
It would be the first-ever La Liga game played overseas, but Infantino isn’t a fan of the idea.
“I think I would prefer to see a great MLS game in the U.S. rather than La Liga being in the U.S,” Infantino said in a statement to ESPN. “In football, the general principle is that you play a ‘home’ match at ‘home’, and not in a foreign country. There are procedures in place for these things, so we will wait to receive anything official and then we’ll look into it. There are rules, regulations, that everyone complies with. In particular, such a proposal has to be approved by the respective associations, by the respective confederations and FIFA should also express a view on the matter, not least since it would have implications for football at global level as well.”
With FIFA having to approve the move, is that the end of this?
Probably not, but it is clear that this game would cause plenty of problems as the Spanish players’ union have already expressed serious concerns about moving games to the U.S. and elsewhere to try and grow their global brand.
The head of La Liga, Javier Tebas, has hit out at Infantino about his comments and clearly wants to game to go ahead. Yet U.S. Soccer, CONCACAF, the Spanish Football Federation and FIFA would all have to give it the thumbs up.
“I will remind the President of, FIFA that in the MLS, 3 teams of Canada participate, and he Toronto FC is the current champion, and also in Canada there is another professional league,” Tebas said.
I see where Tebas is coming from but come on, comparing teams from Spain to Canada playing games in the USA is a huge stretch. It appears La Liga remains desperate for this idea to work but there’s certainly a lot of schmoozing that needs to be done in the coming months to make a Spanish top-flight game in Miami a reality.