Bengaluru, September 9: Amidst all the controversy surrounding the La Liga board and players, it is almost certain that the Girona versus Barcelona clash in January will be the first match to be played on American soil. Girona, who will be the home side in that fixture, confirmed on Friday that they had accepted La Liga’s proposal.
However, ex-Barcelona player Rivaldo is firmly against the plans and believes the players should be allowed to decide where their matches are played. “In my opinion, the decision to play La Liga matches in the USA is already a serious issue that raises lot of questions,” Betfair ambassador Rivaldo said.
“I think that taking games to the US is wrong and seriously damages Spanish fans and players and most of the fans won't be able to attend the game.”
“Now with Girona v Barcelona, a Catalan derby, being played abroad I expect controversy as the situation with Catalonia/Spain is clearly delicate and I think should be kept in Spain and not taken abroad.
“This match won't help to bring peace to this political issue, quite the opposite. I believe that all the players are against this American event, and they should be allowed to choose if they want to play there or not. It shouldn't be down to one or two people.
“For that reason, I think that if they reach an agreement not to play, there is no alternative and the game doesn't go ahead.”
The plan is part of a 15-year partnership between La Liga and media company Relevant, which organises the International Champions Cup, to promote football in North America. It is the first time in La Liga history that first division matches will be played on overseas soil.