MADRID (Reuters) – La Liga’s plans to play one game per season in the United States suffered a further setback on Sunday when Real Madrid president Florentino Perez came out against the proposal, saying it did not benefit clubs or supporters.
La Liga’s desire to become the first European soccer league to play regular-season games on a different continent hit a wall on Friday when the Spanish soccer federation said it could not authorize the proposal to stage Girona’s match against Barcelona on Jan. 26 in Miami until it received more information.
Moving the game to Miami needs the approval of the Spanish federation, the United States soccer federation and regional bodies UEFA and CONCACAF.
Real Madrid’s opposition threatens La Liga’s long-term plans to play one match per season in the U.S. over the next 15 years, as agreed in a deal the league signed with U.S. entertainment company Relevent last month.
“We won’t go to the United States. I don’t know whose interest it is in to play there but it is not in the interests of the clubs or the supporters, so we outright reject it,” Perez told a club members’ forum.
Perez’s comments come a week after Real coach Julen Lopetegui said he opposed Girona’s game with Barca being taken abroad, saying “every team (in the league) should play at every ground”.
La Liga president Javier Tebas, however, was still optimistic his proposal would get the go-ahead, saying on Friday: “The game (in Miami) is still alive, without a doubt.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Clare Fallon)