Barcelona, Girona and La Liga request permission for Miami fixture

Lionel Messi Barcelona USA
The idea of a Spanish game being played in North America has proved controversial, but the date for the first clash appears to have been decided

Barcelona, Girona and La Liga (LFP) have put forward a request to the Spanish FA (RFEF) that they be allowed to play a fixture in Miami, Florida later this season.

In a statement issued by the LFP, Girona's 'home' match against the Catalans could be switched to the Hard Rock Stadium on January 26 with a 20:45 CET kick-off time.

The news comes after last month's announcement that La Liga had made a deal with multinational media, sports and entertainment company Relevent that will last 15 years and boost the competition in North America by seeing a Spanish top-flight match played in the United States for the first time.

Article continues below

And  Girona revealed this week that they would accept the proposal to play against the Catalan giants in another country as it presents "a great opportunity for expansion and growth".

President Delfi Geli has joined his Barcelona and Liga counterparts, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Javier Tebas, in signing a letter asking the RFEF to grant permission.

One of the main issues concerning the proposal surrounds compensation for local fans and season ticket holders who will miss out on the game. However, Aficiones Unidas (AFEPE), which works with clubs and the association to promote fairness in football, has approved Barca and Girona's plans to make amends with supporters.

Although the plan looks set to go ahead, the idea has been met with much criticism since its announcement, including from RFEF president Luis Rubiales  and Spanish players' union (AFE) leader David Aganzo, who said the reaction to the idea was of unanimous outrage and that clubs were considering going on strike .

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets also suggested it could be damaging for the sport in the long term.

"We're all united, the union is strong and as our president [David Aganzo] has said, we all think the same about this," he said.

"Together we are stronger and this is a path that we all want to take and we believe it's what is best for football."

Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui has also come out against the idea and in support of the players .

"We are thinking about other things, but I'm in agreement with the players," he told a news conference.

"I think they have their reasons to think what they think. It's my opinion.

"Those who have to decide will make a decision. But if you are going to ask me for my opinion, I'm in line with what the players think."