LaLiga chief Javier Tebas said he wouldn’t give up on a US-based league match after last season’s planned Barcelona-Girona game fell to pieces due to an assortment of issues. There was no clearance from the governing bodies — FIFA wouldn’t back it, the Spanish football federation disagreed with it, the Player’s Union (AFE) was against it and fans weren’t happy about it as talk of the tie petered out.
But Tebas has kept his word. Reports emerged on Wednesday night that Atlético Madrid and Villarreal have agreed to play in Miami this season. The match would take place on Sunday, Dec. 8, a gameweek 16 fixture Sunday which initially would have taken place at Villarreal’s Estadio de la Cerámica.
El Confidencial say the game will be played at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. José Manuel Llaneza, the president of LaLiga’s American partner Relevant Sports, has met with officials in Madrid and given the green light to their plan.
Villarreal fans will be compensated if the game is moved, although it is unclear as of yet how with talk of chartered flights being mentioned.
“It’s possible,” Villarreal owner and president Fernando Roig said. “We are looking at different alternatives. There won’t be any problems.
“It’s good to export LaLiga to such an important country,” Roig continued on Spanish radio network Onda Cero.
The Spanish football federation have been against LaLiga’s Miami proposal since its inception, but their intent is to have the Spanish Super Cup played in Saudi Arabia in January. It’s unclear as to which leg — if they have one — they will be standing on as they reject the current proposal.