The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has said it is open to discussing the possibility of staging La Liga games in Miami and outside of Spain.
RFEF president Luis Rubiales said on Wednesday he will invite his La Liga counterpart Javier Tebas in the coming days to discuss making changes to the format of the league with the aim of making it a “more attractive” competition.
Rubiales and Tebas have been at odds on numerous issues over the past years and on Wednesday, Tebas insisted that now he is not interested in what Rubiales is proposing.
“LaLiga will not consider any changes to the format of any of its competitions,” Tebas hit back after Rubiales made his comments.
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In previous years and attempts, the RFEF blocked La Liga’s attempts to stage regular season games in Miami.
“Tebas and I are not going to think the same,” Rubiales said on Wednesday. “We can study a game in Miami. Matches can be played both inside and outside of the country, it can be studied. In the coming days I will invite Tebas to change the La Liga format. We’ve changed the format of many competitions.
“We are in a position to present a different format, more attractive, with fewer games, more breaks in the calendar, neutral grounds.”
La Liga signed a 15-year marketing agreement with Relevent Sports in August 2018 to promote the game in North America and have tried since then without success to stage several league games in the United States after Rubiales blocked the measure.
At the time, the proposed match in Miami did not get the support of the RFEF or the Spain’s Sports Council, or the governing bodies of UEFA, CONCACAF and U.S. Soccer, all of which were needed.
Players and fans were opposed to games being staged overseas.
Tebas made it clear he would continue to challenge Rubiales, even if it meant reversing course.
“La Liga will not consider any changes in competition format to any of its categories. The current model, its structure, competition days, times, etc. has been a complete success over the past few years,” Tebas said in a statement. “Among our many accomplishments: We have a 20 percent increase in the number of fans in the stadiums, we have grown our national and international rights exponentially, among them, our most recent agreement with ESPN in the United States.
“We have an economic stability that has allowed us to be the only league among the top leagues with a positive net result in the first season of COVID, etc. Because of all this, it would be irresponsible to make any modifications or even approaches to modify the current format.
“La Liga is certainly willing to table a dialogue with the RFEF about various topics including improvements to football, such as improving VAR, which we proposed several days ago, as well as the coordination of a new first category RFEF (leading up to professional football) as well as a common strategy against the European Superleague, etc.”
The Copa del Rey switched to a single match format, with the exception of the semifinals, which remained a two-leg tie, while the Spanish Super Cup changed from a match between the league winners and the cup winners to a four-team competition.
While the RFEF blocked La Liga from staging games overseas, it did take the 2018 Spanish Super Cup to be played outside of Spain for the first time ever as it was hosted in Tangier, Morocco.
TheRFEF then signed a €120 million deal for the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah to host the Supercup for three years. It was moved to Spain last season due to COVID-19.