The Spanish league will have one match per season played in the United States, but it will not be the headline clash between the big two teams
La Liga president Javier Tebas has ruled out the prospect of a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona being played in New York this season as part of plans to stage a match in the United States.
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Tebas signed a 15-year deal with Relevant, the organisers of the International Champions Cup, to help promote the Spanish league’s global appeal and increase interest in football in North America.
The agreement will see one match per season, starting with 2018-19, played on US soil, although organisers are yet to state which fixture will be selected.
It has been suggested the Clasico could be chosen, given the global interest in Barcelona and Real Madrid and the fact an ICC match between the two was staged in Miami last year.
But Tebas says it would not be viable, telling El Mundo: “No. Logistically, a Clasico in New York is unfeasible. At least, a La Liga Clasico.”
The decision to stage a match in the US has caused great debate within Spanish football, with the Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) furious at not being consulted over the plans and considering calling for a strike.
On Wednesday, AFE directors met with team captains from across La Liga, including Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid duo Juanfran and Koke, with the players said to be “unanimously” against the plans.
Tebas, though, has defended the proposal, insisting it will form an important part of LaLiga’s increasingly strong economic results.
“The figures are there,” Tebas said. “In four years, we have trebled our international [TV] rights value.
“La Liga’s strategies are different depending on the location. What we do in the United States is completely different to what we do in Germany, Poland or Russia, where we’ve had splendid results in the past few months.
“That diversification makes us pioneers in the world. Only the NBA does anything similar. Though the aim is not just that but also to increase our international sponsors.
“Right now, there are only two teams that really grow, Madrid and Barca, and one that does so slowly, Atletico Madrid. We have to work so that foreign sponsors come to Valencia, Villarreal or recently promoted side Huesca. Why not?”