Relevent and LaLiga resurrect US ambitions with Villareal vs Atletico proposal

October 21 – Plans to stage a La Liga fixture in Miami have been resurrected, this time involving Villarreal’s home game against Atletico Madrid on December 6.

The Spanish league are trying to take a regular-season game to the USA but original plans for last season’s Girona-Barcelona game to be switched across the Atlantic were scuppered when the various parties couldn’t agree.

LaLiga signed up to play one game a season in the US as part of a 15-year deal with media company Relevent in 2018. Relevent chairman Charlie Stillitano began a legal case against US football authorities in September, after the United States Soccer Federation blocked the concept of hosting games in the US.

“We hope that this time we can carry out this positive action for everyone, like they already do in other leagues like the NFL and the NBA, outside of their borders,” said  Spanish league president Javier Tebas.

“This match would be a further push in La Liga’s internationalisation strategy, which is giving all clubs good results.

Atletico Madrid chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin is supporting the idea, unlike Real Madrid and Barca did before.

“We would be able to bring Spanish football closer to the fans and followers who live outside of our country. It would be a great game, which would show the way to go in the future,” he said.

In its application, LaLiga asked for the game to be played at 4pm local time at the Hard Rock stadium but  Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales has spoken out against the latest proposal despite both clubs agreeing.

“It would disrupt the competition,” he said. “To play a game in Miami, LaLiga needs permission from five bodies that it does not have.”

Aside from the RFEF, relocating the match to Miami would also require the approval of FIFA, Concacaf, the United States Soccer Federation and Major League Soccer.

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