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La Liga plans to take game to Miami halted by court decision

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By Reuters

MADRID (Reuters) – La Liga’s hopes of staging Villarreal’s game with Atletico Madrid on Dec. 6 in Miami have ended after a local court declined a request to grant an injunction against the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF), who oppose playing the match abroad.

The league’s organising body filed a complaint against the RFEF last year over the latter’s refusal to authorise playing regular season matches outside Spain, claiming the RFEF did not have the authority to block the move.

That complaint will be heard next February.

“Madrid’s Mercantile Court No. 12 today decided not to grant interim measures to stage an official La Liga match in Miami in a case about the pending authorisation from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF),” said a statement from La Liga.

“La Liga respects this decision, which does not prejudge the substance of the matter, which will be permanently settled in February 2020. Staging an official match abroad is part of a long-term La Liga strategy for international growth.

“We hope that from February La Liga will be able to organise an official match beyond Spanish borders.”

This is the second time the league has been unsuccessful in its bid to play regular season matches abroad, after Barcelona withdrew from plans to play a league game last January against Girona in Miami, citing a lack of support.

La Liga and the RFEF have been at loggerheads since the league signed a 15-year deal with US entertainment company Relevent in 2018, which included a commitment to play one regular season match in North America per year.

The RFEF’s president Luis Rubiales has refused to sanction La Liga’s plans as he says world governing body FIFA does not approve of domestic competition games being played outside their usual territories.

The RFEF announced on Monday that it is to stage the next three editions of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, but Rubiales stated that no other Spanish soccer competitions could be played abroad.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)