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FIFA opposes La Liga's expansion drive in USA

Gianni Infantino

Kigali (Rwanda), October 27: FIFA are opposed to La Liga's plans to stage the match between Barcelona and Girona later this season in Miami, United States, president Gianni Infantino confirmed.

"Following a request of guidance from the Spanish FA, US Soccer and CONCACAF...the council emphasised the sporting principle that official league matches must be played within the territory of the respective member association," Infantino said at the end of a FIFA Council Meeting in the Rwandan capital city of Kigali.

"The council has very clear views on that," added Infantino.

His remarks will not go down well with La Liga chief Javier Tebas, who has shown a determination to go ahead with the plans to play the match, scheduled for January 26, in Miami.

FIFA's statutes suggest that they are able to block La Liga's plans -- article 71 says the governing body "may take the final decision on the authorisation of any international match or competition."

Tebas said this week that opposition to the plans -- which are supported by the two clubs involved -- is "cultural".

Real Madrid have voiced their unhappiness at the ideas, and the country's players' association and football federation have both rejected the proposal.

Spain has played its season-opening Super Cup outside the country, with Barcelona beating Sevilla in the Moroccan city of Tangiers in August. However, the idea of taking the league -- and especially title contenders in Barcelona -- abroad is far more contentious.

Women's WC prize money increased

Meanwhile Infantino also has announced an increase in the prize money for the Women's World Cup from $15m to $30m starting with next year's edition in France, a decision which which was met with criticism immediately .

The Swiss-Italian also said that $20m would be made available for pre-tournament preparations, meaning that $50m in total would be allocated across the 24 participating nations.

The prize money is double the amount awarded in the 2015 World Cup in Canada and for the first time clubs will be rewarded for their players taking part in the tournament, as is the case in the men's edition.

"It's a very important message for women's football. It will certainly boost this World Cup even more," said Infantino.

However, global footballers' union FIFpro said the changes were not enough to redress the inequality between men's and women's football worldwide.

"FIFPro notes the willingness of FIFA to increase prize money for the Women's World Cup and make structural improvements to support women's football. However, despite these changes football remains even further from the goal of equality for all World Cup players regardless of gender," a FIFpro statement said.

(With inputs from Agencies).

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    Story first published: Saturday, October 27, 2018, 14:57 [IST]
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