Barcelona and La Liga reaffirm commitment to play games outside of Spain

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has continued to back plans by La Liga to play meaningful games abroad in the future.

Speaking to the BBC, the president of the La Liga champions appeared to double down even further on the plan, saying that the league should be looking to play three games out of the country per season.

“If we want La Liga to be strong, we are to play in these games,” Bartomeu told the BBC.

“At Barca we have sometimes been talking to La Liga and have been telling them that if you want to promote La Liga more and more, then we should have three games of the year outside – one in America, one in the Middle East and one in Asia.”

“We have to go and be closer to the fans. We do the summer tours in July and August to go closer to the fans. It’s us showing respect to them, going to Miami would have been respect to our fans in the USA.”

Earlier this year, Barcelona were due to play Catalan rivals Girona in Miami. Thanks to a deal between La Liga and Relevent Sports – the company behind the International Champions Cup, the friendly tournament between top European clubs which takes place in the US and elsewhere during pre-season – the Spanish top flight was due to play competitive games in the North America, but disagreements with other parties saw the idea abandoned.

But it may yet come back.

La Liga chief communications officer Joris Evers’ comments on the matter show that the league haven’t given up on the idea either.

“Of course, we strongly support any club’s international ambitions as we certainly share the vision of bringing La Liga action closer to fans everywhere and making La Liga a stronger international brand,” he said.

“We continue to work towards playing a La Liga match outside of Spain and want to do that as soon as possible. We are working with all stakeholders to make it happen.”

“We see this as a logical next step in the growth of our league and as a clear benefit to everyone involved.”

The game is a controversial move to take a competition’s games outside of their country of origin. In the last decade, the NFL, NBA and now MLB have taken the same strategy. It looks like it’s only a matter of time before football does the same.

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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