LaLiga in Miami: FIFA backs Rubiales in conflict with Tebas
The proposed LaLiga match in Miami remains a major source of conflict between football's two main governing bodies in Spain. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales, who has made the wise move of establishing a good relationship with his FIFA counterpart, Gianni Infantino, has obtained from world football's ruling authority a formal declaration of opposition to a Primera División fixture being played outside of Spain. FIFA says that it has the power to veto the plan, although it invokes an article in its statutes that refers to international matches. I'm not so sure that can be applied to this Girona-Barcelona clash, even if it is to be held beyond Spain's borders; after all, it still remains a game played by two clubs from the same national association in a domestic competition.
Opposition to LaLiga plan is certainly mounting...
The statements of opposition to Javier Tebas' plan are starting to mount up: the players' union, the RFEF, Real Madrid, FIFA... Spain's government is also less than enamoured of the idea: given the teams involved, it fears the game playing into the hands of the Catalan separatist movement. But the LaLiga president is not giving in, and says he'll take his plan to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He's quick to point to the Super Cup between Barça and Sevilla, which, as part of the drive to promote our game abroad, was played in Tangier. However, that was a case of replacing a home-and-away tie with a one-off match at a neutral venue. Holding Girona's home league fixture against Barça at a neutral venue is another matter entirely, and you can't blame Real for feeling it creates an unfair advantage.
Rubiales and Tebas would achieve so much if they worked together
What we have here is something with a good overall idea behind it - boosting LaLiga's global prestige - but which, in truth, has mainly served to highlight the tension that exists between Tebas and Rubiales. Two enterprising, dynamic guys who head up overlapping organisations and who could achieve so much if they worked together. But that doesn't look like happening any time soon; no, they appear set fair to lurch from one quarrel to another. Tebas didn't get the kind of across-the-board agreement necessary before embarking on what is a far more audacious, groundbreaking idea than others he's had previously, and now this game in the United States has become a key battleground which, it seems to me, Rubiales is rather hoping will go down as his fierce rival's Waterloo.