La Liga captains against US game

Madrid, Aug 24 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 8/24/2018 1:01:39 PM IST

Spain’s footballers have joined forces to protest against La Liga’s plans to stage a match in the United States this season.

The Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) vowed to fight any decision to play a game Stateside and posed for a photo in unison to show their objections to the plans.

Captains from all 20 clubs including Sergio Ramos and Nacho Fernandez representing Real Madrid and Sergi Roberto and Sergio Busquets representing Barcelona came together in a show of strength against the league.

AFE president David Aganzo will have a meeting next month with league boss Javier Tebas and will pass on the players’ indignation at the announcement of the idea without their prior consultation.

Aganzo said, ‘All the players are against this, they are all with the AFE.’

The Spanish League announced last week that it had signed an agreement with sports and entertainment group Relevent to promote football in North America which included plans to play one match abroad this season.

Relevent is behind the International Champions Cup, the world’s largest summer club tournament, and its founder Stephen Ross is also the owner of Miami Dolphins. A La Liga match this season in Miami was implied by the announcement with at least one fixture played in North America in each of the next 15 seasons.

Tebas sees the move as jumping ahead of the Premier League where the desire to stage a 39th game of the season on foreign soil has existed for some time.

If Tebas is to make the game happen he will need to get the players onside and receive the permission of Spain’s football association, the country’s Foreign Office and its ministry for Sport. He will also need to win over the supporters of the club’s involved in the game.

There was a furious reaction to the decision to play the Spanish Super Cup in Morocco two weeks ago and a league match would be even more problematic as supporters’ season tickets would need to be reimbursed.

Real Madrid appear cold on the idea and say they have not been consulted. 

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is very much in favour of pushing the club in the United States, and the Catalan derby between Barca and Girona in January has been put forward as a possible US fixture.

But the game, a home match for Girona, is wedged between cup quarter-finals and would be difficult if both sides are still in the competition.

The players’ union had already rejected the idea last week with a spokesperson saying, ‘Footballers are not bargaining chips that can be used to benefit third parties.’

-Tags:#La Liga

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