Infantino confirms FIFA opposed to La Liga plans for game in USA

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President of The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Gianni Infantino delivers a speech during the elective assembly of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) on October 22, 2018 at the Hilton hotel of Rome’s Fiumicino airport. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

FIFA are opposed to La Liga’s plans to stage the match between Barcelona and Girona later this season in the United States, Gianni Infantino confirmed on Friday.

“Following a request of guidance from the Spanish FA, US Soccer and CONCACAF…the council emphasised the sporting principle that official league matches must be played within the territory of the respective member association,” said the president of world football’s governing body at a press conference.

“The council has very clear views on that,” added Infantino, who was speaking at the end of a FIFA council meeting in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

His remarks will not go down well with La Liga chief Javier Tebas, who has shown a determination to go ahead with the plans to play the match, scheduled for January 26, in Miami.

FIFA’s statutes suggest that they are able to block La Liga’s plans — article 71 says the governing body “may take the final decision on the authorisation of any international match or competition.”

Tebas said this week that opposition to the plans — which are supported by the two clubs involved — is “cultural”.

Real Madrid has voiced their unhappiness at the ideas, and the country’s players’ association and football federation have both rejected the proposal.

Spain has played its season-opening Super Cup outside the country, with Barcelona beating Sevilla in the Moroccan city of Tangiers in August. However, the idea of taking the league — and especially title contenders in Barcelona — abroad is far more contentious.