Players to Decide if La Liga Game Will Take Place in US
The Spanish La Liga agreed on a deal to play one league game per season in the US after signing a 15-year sponsorship deal with media company Relevent. However, despite that, the first scheduled game that is due to take place this season is still in doubt. The game chosen is Girona's home game against Barcelona, and it is scheduled to be played in January. The latest news on this game is that the Spanish players union, AFE, have said that it will be up to the players to decide whether this game will go ahead in the US or not.
Girona is the club pushing this forward and they are excited to be involved in the first La Liga game to be taking place in the US. They think the game will help grow their stature as a club, as well as being a boost for the local region and the league as a whole. Players are reportedly still unsure about whether this kind of game should be taking place in the US though, and at a meeting on Monday, the AFE reiterated their stance, which is that the players are uneasy and want further information before committing either way.
The US market is seen as a something that European clubs can still tap into, and with the La Liga deal, there is no doubt that the Spanish league has the upper hand. Many European clubs head over to the US every summer to play big friendlies, but playing actual competitive league games in the country is certainly a step further. The game this season is scheduled to take place in Miami, an area currently working towards having their own MLS franchise in the near future thanks to the David Beckham backed team that has launched.
Should the game go ahead in January then it is likely to be a very important game in Barcelona's title bid. They are odds-on favourites to lift the La Liga title at 8/13, with their rivals Real Madrid in behind them at 13/8. Playing a game in the US is not ideal for a title contender in January, and it is going to be very interesting to see if Barcelona go ahead with the plans, or they put their own success first and remain at home.