U.S. LaLiga Fixtures Plan Thwarted
A plan that could have opened the gate, as far as traditional league borders were concerned and if LaLiga could up sticks to the United States, what in theory, would stop the Premier League plying its trade in Asia?
Trade that was mooted for global relocation under Richard Scudamore and the former Premier League Executive Chairman’s controversial plan, for a ‘39th Game’ within the confines of a standard season.
That idea drew a ferocious backlash from nearly all quarters, including FIFA’s Sepp Blatter and knowing that the tide was against them, Scudamore and the rest of the Premier League board decided to quietly ease away from this international away day.
Which is why Relevant Sports’ plan in 2019, caught many parties unaware and with it looking like it was going to go ahead, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) decided they had to make a stand for the good of their own game.
This has subsequently meant fraught discussions and a litany of legal talks, talks that previously have gone in favour of the USSF’s stance. A stance that says, foreign league competitions cannot be played on their own soil.
While it is not just LaLiga, that has dipped its toe into upping sticks and displaying their efforts stateside, as Relevant Sports found themselves in a similar set of discussions with the Ecuadorian Football Association.
Unfortunately for Relevant, the outcome was the same and the USSF once again announced that their footballing lands were not open to new prospectors. A decision, that only meant another round of courtroom drama.
Drama that has unfolded recently and from a USSF point of view, it is more good news for them, as with Relevant being foiled once more in their bid for international league fixtures, there is a sense their plan may now have to cool off.
In the past, the biggest clubs in world football have decamped in America for competitions such as the International Champions Cup or as part of a financially beneficial pre-season tour, to an army of newfound supporters.
Obviously, these will be put on the backburner for the rest of the summer, as COVID-19 restrictions are still largely in place and this will mean, the usual ability for off-season money-spinning tours are currently unavailable.
There’s no doubt, the pre-season sideshow of Real Madrid and Manchester United to New York and Los Angeles, has worked well in the past, not only for the clubs in question, but also for the promoters who usually sell 100,000 tickets of attendance.
A blueprint that Relevant were looking to expand on and by adding a more serious level of competition to the United States, rather than the pseudo Champions League that was currently in place, it was believed further revenue could then be created.
However, with the USSF refusing to back down and allow themselves to be the new frontier for a football invasion, those plans have seemingly fallen flat. A restraint of trade was deemed not to have been in place and with that the image of the sport in America is protected.
Of course, it also serves as a test case for any other leagues or promoters who plan on heading elsewhere and although plans for a European Super League are viewed as the natural evolution to follow, the hosting of one-off domestic fixtures on foreign soil has thankfully been dampened.
Written by Dan Tracey
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