Infantino Casts Doubts On Girona Game
Barcelona’s La Liga game with Girona in Miami in January is under threat following comments by Fifa boss Gianni Infantino.
Barca are due to face their Catalan rivals at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on 26 January in the first game in a 15-year deal that La Liga have signed with US sports promoter Relevent.
Because the game is being played outside Spain, both clubs and La Liga need permission from Fifa for the match to take place in Miami. It is also scheduled to take place outside the 2019 MLS season which isn’t due to start until early March of next year.
However, in a statement released on Monday by Fifa to ESPN, Infantino admitted he is lukewarm over the idea.
“I think I would prefer to see a great MLS 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 that he has yet to receive a formal request from La Liga to play the game in Miami.
There are ongoing examples of clubs playing home games in foreign countries although these are usually for political and historic reasons. League Of Ireland side Derry City play their home games in Northern Ireland while the Welsh foursome of Cardiff City, Swansea City, Wrexham and Newport County all play in the English football system and have done so for many years.
January’s game is formally a home game for Girona. However, they are being paid a reported €5million to switch the game to Miami. Season-ticket holders are being offered free flights and even accommodation in the US over the weekend of the game.
Barcelona being one of La Liga’s big draws they were always in the frame for the overseas game.
The Premier League proposed a 39th game in 2008. The plan involved a whole round of games being played overseas with cities invited to bid for individual matches. But the prospect of objections from overseas associations over games that may clash with their domestic programmes led to the idea being dropped.