La Liga: Spanish top flight to stage competitive game in USA

Lionel Messi
Barcelona's Lionel Messi is one of the biggest stars in La Liga

A Spanish top-flight game will be played in the US, the first time a La Liga match has taken place overseas.

The plan is part of a 15-year partnership between La Liga and media company Relevent, which organises the International Champions Cup, to promote football in North America.

La Liga president Javier Tebas called it a "ground-breaking agreement".

The Premier League has previously discussed plans to play a '39th game' outside England and Wales.

The idea drew criticism from fans and the media, and executive chairman Richard Scudamore, who proposed the idea in 2008, said it could not happen "until the conditions are right".

Asked when the US-based match would take place and whether it would be a regular fixture, La Liga told BBC Sport it "can not confirm the teams, match, date or season".

The Spanish players' union, AFE, said it was against the US game, adding that La Liga had "ignored" the players' opinions.

"It commits them to events which only benefits La Liga, without taking into account the health of the players and the risks involved for them," AFE said in a statement.

"Footballers are not currency that can be used in business to only benefit third parties," added AFE president David Aganzo.

Tebas has previously said El Clasico, between Real Madrid and Barcelona, would "never be played outside of Spain".

But a friendly between the two clubs was played in Miami in July 2017, as part of the International Champions Cup - the first time the fixture had been played outside Spain since 1991.

On Sunday, the Spanish Super Cup was played in Morocco, the first time it has been played outside Spain.

"This extraordinary joint venture is the next giant leap in growing soccer's popularity in North America," said Stephen Ross, chairman and owner of Relevent.

"This unique relationship will create new opportunities for millions of North American soccer fans to experience the most passionate, exciting, and highest level of soccer in the world."

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