Tebas' drive to stage the Villarreal-Atleti game in Miami
Head of LaLiga Javier Tebas is hell-bent on taking a domestic league game and staging it overseas. After last year's failed attempt to stage the Girona-Barça game in Florida, his next proposal is to stage match-day 16's Villarreal-Atlético clash in Miami. As was the case before, the idea pits a side with a limited amount of season ticket holders (who give up their home advantage) against a high ranking side from the competition with a high global profile. Atlético have been working hard on 'brand extension' in the United States and as was the case with Girona, Villarreal are reasonably not well known outside of Spain and participating in this type of initiative has been well received by those in charge of "Els Groguets".
The immediate losers here are obviously Villarreal's season ticket holders, who miss out on watching a game that they had already paid for. LaLiga have already announced a means of compensation by way of 600 free return flights to Miami (hotel not included) or 3,000 return train journeys to the Spanish capital for the corresponding fixture at the Metropolitano; or, finally, the possibility of fans having 40% discount on their 2020-21 season ticket. On Atlético's side, the 'Colchonero' club have requested that the match is stage on a Friday as Simeone's side face Lokomotive Moscow the following week in the final game of the Champions League group stage.
The motivation behind the initiative is to boost the profile of LaLiga in new markets. There is also the moot point of a drive like this violating the general concept of a symmetric league system whereby each club faces the other participants in a home and away basis. It also has to be added that head of Spain's FA Rubiales has already taken a leaf from Tebas' book in taking the Spanish Super Cup overseas and once again the FA chief has voiced his objection to the new Miami move. I don't see this going ahead myself and quietly admire Atlético's attitude in signing up to Rubiales' Super Cup and Tebas' Miami push. Maybe the club could act as a bridge and common ground to ease the ongoing rift between both Luis Rubiales and Javier Tebas.
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