Official: La Liga could look to Australia long-term

Official: La Liga could look to Australia long-term


La Liga Australia/New Zealand delegate Glen Rolls sees no reason why the Spanish competition would not consider staging a game down under in the long-term future. 

A request is currently in front of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to relocate a league match to the eastern US city of Miami, specifically, at Hard Rock Stadium.

It would be played between Girona, a club part-owned by the City Football Group, and established giants FC Barcelona, on 26 January 2019.

Permission is also required from UEFA, CONCACAF and the US Soccer Federation to stage the fixture.

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The Spanish Players Association has staunchly opposed the idea of playing in the US, but the proposal appears set to become reality.

Fans meanwhile will be compensated by way of free flights, accomodation and financial incentives.

The hugely controversial landmark plan to move a league game overseas for the first time is aimed at growing La Liga’s brand in the North American market.

It is one demographic the competition has targeted in the hope of further boosting its profile, and to compete with the ever-popular Premier League.

Australia and New Zealand is another of those markets, a post Rolls has manned since 2017, tasked with building La Liga’s profile.

While an Australian project similar to the Girona vs Barcelona US match is not in the immediate thinking of La Liga, Rolls said it is not out of the question.

“Not in the short term … this would be a trial, initially, what we’re looking to do over in the States and it really depends on the success of that firstly,” he said on Friday’s Daily Football Show.

“Speaking long-term, within three or four or five years, I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t.

“It’s only going to be one of the 360 matches of La Liga that are going to be played outside of Spain.

“So it’s really tough to say at this stage, but I think there could be possibilities to take a match over this way.

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“If you’re taking a big, renowned club such as Barcelona, even Atletico Madrid or one of those clubs, there would be huge interest here in Australia.”

For the time being, La Liga, Rolls added, is focused on becoming Australia’s second-most popular league behind the A-League.

He stressed the Spanish game wants to be the A-League’s closest ally.

“We don’t want to be seen as pillagers of any local league, we want to be seen as allies and helpers of the local league and local football to help them grow,” he explained.

“We believe at La Liga, that when international football is healthy, La Liga will be healthy also.

“That’s our policy in that regard … here in Australia, it’s a bit tougher with the Premier League, they’ve done a lot of work here over the last 20 or 30 years, even longer.

“It’s pretty engrained in Australia football culture here but we’re doing a lot of stuff to, step by step, grow our brand and engage with our local fans.”