By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) – La Liga’s plans to play Girona’s fixture with champions Barcelona in Miami moved a step closer after the league’s organising body said on Tuesday they have asked for permission from the Spanish football federation to take the game abroad.
“Barcelona, Girona and La Liga have requested the authorisation of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to play Girona v Barcelona on 26 January at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami at 20.45 CET,” said a statement from the league.
“The letter, signed by Josep Maria Bartomeu, Delfi Geli and Javier Tebas, presidents of Barcelona, Girona and La Liga respectively, was sent on Monday night.”
The statement added that the request was made after meetings with fan umbrella group Aficiones Unidas (Fans United), who have approved their plan to compensate Girona season ticket holders who will be deprived of a home game against Barca as a result.
The request also follows a meeting held on Monday between representatives of La Liga and the Spanish footballer’s union (AFE).
The union were one of the loudest opponents of the league’s deal with multi-national entertainment company Relevent, announced last month, which includes plans to play one game per season in North America over the next 15 years.
The AFE said in a statement on Monday that after telling La Liga of their anger at not being informed of the plans the league has committed to creating a full report on the impact playing games in the US will have on players.
The statement added that players will make a final decision on whether or not they go to play the game.
As well as requiring the permission of the Spanish football federation, the game needs to be approved by European football’s governing body UEFA as well as the United States’ soccer federation and the regional body CONCACAF.
The three organisations did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)