EFL nixes Birmingham City request to play Wrexham in US

June 25 – American-owned Birmingham City have had a request to play their home fixture against Hollywood-owned Wrexham in the US turned down by the English Football League (EFL).

Birmingham City, who last year came under the majority ownership of American financier Tom Wagner, who in turn brought in NFL superstar Tom Brady as a minority owner, were relegated from the Championship on the final day of the season.

Wrexham, famous for their celebrity owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney and the Welcome to Wrexhamdocumentary series which has been a big hit in the US, were promoted to League One in their second successive promotion.

The two teams will meet twice next season in the league.

Reynolds has indicated that he wouldn’t be too keen to move a home game away from Wrexham, and said on social media that no talks had been held with Birmingham. Wrexham will pre-season for the second year in a row in the US this summer.

Receiving official sanction to play regular season matches outside of home markets has become a hot legal and political issue in football, and the US in particular.

La Liga has ambition to play regular season games in the US and through their US marketing partner Relevent Sports challenged a decision to disallow them from doing so.

Having initially lost their case, they won on appeal, forcing FIFA to reconsider their rules. Many feel that it is inevitable that playing regular season matches in major commercial markets is inevitable. Spain and Italy have already played editions of the Super Cup competitions in Saudi Arabia for example.

Playing regular season league matches is seen by promoters of the overseas concept as just a small and logical step. For home fans it is a big issue.

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