By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Real Madrid has written to Spain’s football federation outlining its opposition to La Liga’s plans to stage a match between Girona and Barcelona in Miami, delivering another blow to league hopes of playing one game a season in the United States.
A spokeswoman for the federation confirmed to Reuters that it had received the letter, which was widely quoted by local media on Wednesday.
The Miami match, pencilled in for Jan. 26, would be the first game to take place as part of a 15-year deal struck between La Liga and entertainment company Relevent.
“First of all we would like to declare that Real Madrid were never informed that La Liga had requested to play the game nor of the intention to make the request, and we were never asked our opinion on it,” Real said in the letter, signed by the club’s Director General Jose Angel Sanchez.
“Nor, obviously, did La Liga obtain Real Madrid’s agreement, despite the fact that this game affects a competition in which we participate.”
A spokesman for La Liga reiterated on Wednesday that no club would be forced to play in the United States and that it was entirely voluntary.
The Federation has told La Liga it cannot approve the proposal, which also requires the green light from UEFA, CONCACAF and the United States soccer federation, until it receives more information.
Federation President Luis Rubiales has expressed his opposition to the move while the Spanish footballers’ union has also protested the plans.
Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has spoken out against it while the club’s coach Julen Lopetegui has said: “every team (in the league) should play at every ground”.
Real’s letter addressed the same concerns.
“We cannot forget that the national league is a competition in which 20 teams participate, not two, and that it is fundamental that every team plays each other twice, home and away and at each stadium, as that guarantees the integrity and the equality of the competition,” it said.
“As a consequence, Real Madrid manifests its opposition to the request made to play the game at the Hard Rock stadium in Miami as it affects the integrity and equality of the competition.”
La Liga President Javier Tebas told Reuters earlier this month there were many things that could threaten the integrity of a competition but the Miami game was not one of them.
“In a World Cup a team playing a … semi-final on Tuesday has a greater advantage in the final than the team playing on Wednesday,” Tebas said.
“Teams have also played at other stadiums while their grounds are being renovated or in order to generate more revenue. If we really believe in this sporting puritanism then we would need to make many changes in football.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)