LaLiga presses on with overseas match plan despite Barcelona withdrawal

Girona was set to face LaLiga leader Barcelona in Miami in January, but LaLiga accepts the game will now not go ahead as planned.

Barcelona said Monday it is not willing to play Girona in Miami.   -  Getty Images

LaLiga will continue with a proposal to play a league fixture outside of Spain for the first time despite Barcelona pulling out of a plan to face Girona in Miami.

As part of a 15-year agreement between Spain's top division and Relevent Sports announced earlier this year, it was proposed Barca would face Girona at Hard Rock Stadium in January.

But Barca said on Monday it is no longer willing to play Girona in Miami because of a lack of support for the idea, although the Catalan giant remains open to the possibility if and when it is backed from all quarters.

"The Barcelona board of directors have agreed to withdraw their disposal to play their game against Girona in Miami, after noting a lack of consensus over this proposal," their statement said. 

"FC Barcelona were and remain willing to play a LaLiga game in Miami, and accepted that income from the game would be shared amongst all Primera Division and Segunda Division clubs, following the same criteria of television rights money distribution, but consider that this project will not prosper until there is an agreement between all parties."

And LaLiga issued a statement in response accepting Barca's decision but confirming the deal with Relevant for matches to be hosted overseas is set to go ahead.

"From LaLiga we want to congratulate FC Barcelona and Girona FC for their willingness to be pioneers in the voluntary intention to play a LaLiga match outside of Spain," its statement said. 

"The LaLiga project with Relevent, signed for 15 years, continues. From the first moment we stated that participation in the game is voluntary and if FC Barcelona expresses its voluntary wish not to attend, this game scheduled in Miami can not be held on the agreed date.

"From LaLiga we regret, as it could not be otherwise, the disappointment that may occur among our fans in the USA. We want to convey to all of them that, in the shortest possible time, LaLiga will play an official match in the USA, just like the major American leagues [NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL] outside their borders.

"LaLiga will continue with the planned demand to claim that a match can be played outside of Spain, although it withdraws the precautionary measure referring to the specific match of January 26."

The statement also noted LaLiga's lawsuit against the Royal Spanish Football Federation's opposition to the plan to play a league game abroad will continue.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino in October said he would block any attempt to take a LaLiga game to the US, while the Association of Spanish Footballers spoke out against the plan from Relevent, the company behind the International Champions Cup.

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