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Atletico Madrid and Villarreal submit request to play La Liga match in Miami

1:11 PM GMT 17/10/2019
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The Spanish top-flight has made no secret of its desire to host a match in the United States, and December's fixture may now be moved to Florida

Villarreal, Atletico Madrid and La Liga have submitted a request to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) for their match in December to be played in Miami.

Villarreal president Fernando Roig confirmed in a radio interview on Wednesday that the two clubs were hoping an agreement could be struck.

Roig insisted such an event would be beneficial and important for Spanish football's growth, and the three parties have now lodged an official proposal to play the match on December 6 at Hard Rock Stadium.

A statement posted to Villarreal's website read: "La Liga, alongside Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, [on Thursday] presented an official request to the RFEF to play the match between Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, corresponding to La Liga matchday 16, on December 6, 2019, at 10pm Spanish time (4pm local time) at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami (Florida, United States).

"This request is part of La Liga's international growth strategy. There are millions of La Liga fans around the world. Bringing the clubs closer to these fans represents an important opportunity to connect with them and continue working for the global growth of La Liga on a worldwide level.

"This international growth has a benefit for the clubs involved, as well as players, fans, La Liga, Spanish football and Spain itself.

"The choice of teams is due to the interest and availability shown by both clubs. USA, and especially Miami, is an essential part of its growth strategies. Villarreal now have been working in the North American market for various years, through the presence of academies and different training and marketing activities.

"Atletico Madrid recently completed a successful summer tour of the U.S., where they also took part in the MLS All-Star match in Orlando (Florida).

"The players and coaching staff from both sides have been told about this and have shown enthusiasm in taking football to their fans in the US. Also the Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) has been informed of the request."

In 2018 La Liga struck a 15-year deal with Relevent, the company behind the International Champions Cup, and a proposal was submitted for Barcelona to play Girona in Miami at the start of 2019.

But the RFEF and AFE condemned the plan and Barca pulled out in December, after FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he would block any such match.

Despite the previous opposition to La Liga matches being played abroad, Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil is hopeful as he feels it benefits all.

"Atletico Madrid works every season to expand and promote our brand in all continents and playing this match in the United States would allow us to continue working on it," Gil said.

"In addition, we would bring Spanish football to fans and supporters who live outside our country. It would be a great game that would mark the future."