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La Liga game in United States backed by Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol

With reports that Girona are set to face Barcelona in Miami this coming January, the FC crew share their varying opinions on La Liga coming to the U.S.
Gab Marcotti details how playing in the United States can benefit all La Liga clubs, not just headline acts Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Pau Gasol, Spain's most successful basketball player, has backed plans for a La Liga game to be played in the United States.

La Liga, Girona and Barcelona have sent a letter to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to request that Girona's fixture against the champions in January is played in Miami.

The plan for a regular-season game to be played overseas, part of La Liga's 15-year marketing agreement with Relevent Sports, has been unanimously voted against by players in Spain, who could take strike action, but Gasol backed it.

"For me, internationalisation and playing a game in the U.S. is an interesting idea that has to be valued," the San Antonio Spurs star told El Pais.

"In the case of football, it's an expansion strategy. It's the most important market in the world. It makes sense that the players and the clubs understand it like that."

Gasol, a six-time NBA All-Star and two-time champion, said the game in Spain had to have a "long-term vision."

"A tradition is broken but the world is global," he added. "The NBA has been organising games outside America for years.

"I already played with the [San Antonio] Spurs two years ago in Mexico and, each year, you have two games in London and there is no controversy because it's a decision the league made.

"I don't know whether it undermines the competition but I believe that you have to go farther and beyond. Fans have to be compensated, but you have to have a mid-term and long-term vision."

La Liga has proposed a compensation package for fans of the teams involved, while home season ticket holders will have subsidised travel and accommodation.

Concerns have been voiced in Spain that the game between Catalan clubs Girona and Barca could see the Spanish national anthem booed by supporters of Catalan independence.


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