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La Liga chief plans league matches in U.S. from 2025-26 season

Maria Jimenez - Real Madrid / Real Madrid / Getty

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La Liga president Javier Tebas stated Wednesday that matches from Spain's top flight will be staged overseas and is targeting the United States as the first destination from the 2025-26 season.

Tebas, in partnership with U.S. events promoter Relevent, was unsuccessful in 2018 in trying to arrange a league fixture between Barcelona and Girona in Miami. However, his bid to move some Spanish games overseas was encouraged earlier this April when FIFA backed out of a legal battle with Relevent; in the dispute, the governing body of world football argued domestic matches shouldn't be staged outside home territory.

"I think it could be in the 2025-26 season, but La Liga will play official matches abroad," La Liga president Tebas told Spanish newspaper Expansion, as reported by The Athletic's Colin Millar.

"An official match in the U.S. will strengthen our position in the North American market, which is the second market for La Liga after Spain."

La Liga sources told ESPN's Sam Marsden that the prospect of bringing a match to the United States is closer but Tebas' words don't count as an announcement.

U.S. Soccer is now the last high-profile organization challenging Relevent's plans to stage competitive fixtures from other countries in the United States. The U.S. federation previously opposed Relevent's efforts in 2019 to play an Ecuadorian domestic match in Miami, citing FIFA's argument against the Spanish fixture from the prior year.

Tebas said he wants to stay ahead of the rival leagues, claiming others are trying to play matches abroad.

"Other very competitive leagues are coming so we cannot always do the same thing, but we cannot allow them to overtake us," Tebas shared.

While the significant FIFA hurdle appears to have been cleared, there will be further opposition to La Liga and Relevent's plans beyond U.S. Soccer. The 2018 proposal to stage a meeting between Barcelona and Girona in Miami faced criticism and objections from the Spanish football federation, Spanish players' union, and various clubs including Real Madrid.

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