LaLiga in Miami: Real Madrid trample all over Tebas' plan
Now Real Madrid have stated in writing their explicit opposition to Javier Tebas' plan to hold the Girona-Barcelona LaLiga fixture in Miami, things feel rather different. After all, Los Blancos are not just anyone. In his obsession with spreading the Spanish league's reputation to every corner of the globe, Tebas came up with the idea of playing a game or two, or more, beyond Spain's borders. Driven on by his natural audacity, the LaLiga chief signed a 15-year agreemeent in the United States without really having enough support back home. He could point to previous initiatives that he's got right and have benefitted our game, but in this case he put himself on a collision course with the fundamental essence of the competition: everyone plays each other home and away.
It's an idea that has good intentions: namely, to raise LaLiga's profile further in the States. But something of this sort requires establishing a prior consensus - one in which the Spanish Football Federation and Real Madrid are both among the key players - before going ahead with it. Without that, it basically amounts to little more than a plot cooked up on the sly together with Girona, Barcelona and media mogul Jaume Roures - and that isn't enough to justify bending the central tenet of the league format, not even for one day. If the aim is to alter that, and we're talking about a significant step here, then it can only happen if there is a broad consensus and the financial benefits are well shared out. If it all comes down to two clubs being paid extra to go and play in Miami, then god help us.
Who knows how this is going to turn out...
The Premier League tried to do something similar a while back, but its idea was built on a much fairer footing: what was proposed was a final, 39th round of fixtures in which every game would be held outside of England. The initiative didn't get off the ground. The model Tebas has in mind is trickier, because it advances a kind of sacrilegious asymmetry. And, what's worse: he didn't fully explain all this in advance. Tebas now announces that he's ready to take the matter to court, and you can't help but feel for the judge who sees this hoo-ha fall into their intray. I doubt that in all our years of human society we've created laws that provide for something like this. When the Romans developed codified law, there was no football. I've no idea how this whole thing is going to pan out.