La Liga to persevere with overseas match plan despite Barca withdrawal

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Barca backed out of their game at Hard Rock Stadium due to a lack of support for the game, but still want to play a fixture abroad in future

La Liga will persevere with their proposal to play a league match outside of Spain despite Barcelona pulling out of the planned fixture against 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 the Catalan club said on Monday they are no longer willing to go through with the match because of a lack of support for the idea, although the Catalan giants remain open to the possibility if and when it is backed from all quarters.

A club statement said: "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. 

"FC Barcelona were and remain willing to play a La Liga 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 La Liga 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 La Liga we want to congratulate FC Barcelona and Girona FC for their willingness to be pioneers in the voluntary intention to play a La Liga match outside of Spain," their statement read. 

"The La Liga 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 La Liga 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, La Liga will play an official match in the USA, just like the major American leagues [NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL] outside their borders.

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"La Liga 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 confirmed La Liga's lawsuit against the Royal Spanish Football Federation's opposition to the plan will continue.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino in October said he would block any attempt to take a La Liga 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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