A BETRAYAL OF TRADITION: LA LIGA… - Soul 2 Soul Mates Blog

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10/01/2018

A BETRAYAL OF TRADITION: LA LIGA…


In early September, La Liga president Javier Tebas said in a radio interview that there was a 90% chance of a La Liga match happening in the United States. FC Barcelona would play Girona in the US in a legitimate, competitive La Liga game in January.
In early September, La Liga president Javier Tebas said in a radio interview that there was a 90% chance of a La Liga match happening in the United States. FC Barcelona would play Girona in the US in a legitimate, competitive La Liga game in January.

The two Catalan clubs, Barcelona and Girona, were game. However, soon after, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez met FIFA President Gianni Infantino and federation president Luis Rubiales to discuss the idea, among other things. According to Spanish newspaper Marca, the Spanish federation felt that such an outsourcing of a game wouldn’t serve Spanish soccer or its fans. FIFA thought it a money grab and the Spanish government worried that a game between two Catalan teams abroad might become a flashpoint for the region’s simmering separatist movement.
Keeping politics aside, the sole advantage one can see of a La Liga game being played abroad is financial. FIFA President Infantino has rightly stated: “I think I would prefer to see a great MLS (Major League Soccer) game in the US rather than La Liga being in the US,” Infantino said.



“In football, the general principle is that you play a ‘home’ match at ‘home’, and not in a foreign country,” he added.

For 89 years, La Liga, just like any other domestic league, has been correctly based out of Spain. It follows the basic rule of any national competition of any country. Furthermore, there is a reason ‘home’ games exist. They provide the hosts with an unparalleled advantage, playing in front of their local fans. Taking that way would be a serious drawback to, as is being reported, on-paper minnows, Girona, against Barcelona. The only motive one can understand from all of this is monetary.

Top European clubs regularly sell out American stadiums even for friendlies in the summer. The deal that has been struck with sports entertainment company, Relevant, includes initial plans to stage at least one league match at a US venue every season. A severe deviation of long accepted norms and ideals.
David Aganzo, the president of the Spanish players’ union, came out in August and said that the decision to stage a contest overseas was made without consulting the players.

“We are fed up with not being valued,” he said.

Aganzo said players are “outraged, very surprised, and are all against it. It’s unanimous.”

“The players don’t want to play overseas,” he added.

“Things have to be done in a more coherent way and with common sense. A decision of this magnitude, that affects players, referees and fans, was taken unilaterally and is a lack of respect.”

Barcelona star Sergio Busquets, who is also vice president of the Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE), has come out and stated that keeping all league matches in Spain “is the best choice for football”.

“We’re all united, the union is strong and as our president (David Aganzo) has said, we’re all on the same line of thinking,” said Busquets.

“It’s a path that we all want to take and we believe it’s what best for football.”

Future Impact
Could this potentially influence other major leagues to follow suit? Can you imagine the high-intensity Derbi de Roma between Roma and Lazio being played out in front of 75,000 Americans in the near future?

The consequences for this decision could be greater than we potentially realise today. All major European leagues could possibly never be the same again if the Spanish La Liga goes through with this.

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