Barcelona president backs playing LaLiga games in U.S., elsewhere abroad

By Jamie Smith 13 February 2019 121
Barcelona president backs playing LaLiga games in U.S., elsewhere abroad

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says multiple LaLiga matches each season should be played outside of Spain.

Girona's home game against Barcelona last month initially was to be played at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium as part of a new deal between the Spanish league and media company Relevent Sports.

But Barcelona withdrew from the proposal citing "a lack of consensus over this proposal," with the Royal Spanish Football Federation and FIFA opposing the plan.

Barca defender Gerard Pique also voiced his concerns while the Association of Spanish Footballers said the players union was not consulted over the idea.

Bartomeu, though, has indicated Barcelona is open to playing future LaLiga matches abroad.

"If we want LaLiga to be strong, we are to play in these games," Bartomeu said to BBC Sport.

"At Barca, we have sometimes been talking to LaLiga and have been telling them that if you want to promote LaLiga more and more, then we should have three games of the year outside — one in America, one in the Middle East and one in Asia.

"We have to go and be closer to the fans. We do the summer tours in July and August to go closer to the fans. It's us showing respect to them, going to Miami would have been respect to our fans in the USA."

LaLiga's chief communications officer Joris Evers confirmed plans to play league games outside of Spain are continuing despite the Miami game failing.

"Of course, we strongly support any club's international ambitions as we certainly share the vision of bringing LaLiga action closer to fans everywhere and making LaLiga a stronger international brand," he told BBC Sport.

"We continue to work towards playing a LaLiga match outside of Spain and want to do that as soon as possible. We are working with all stakeholders to make it happen. We see this as a logical next step in the growth of our league and as a clear benefit to everyone involved."


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