Company behind bid to stage La Liga games in US takes football authority to court
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By Simon Stone
The organiser of this annual pre-season International Champions Cup has launched a valid case against US soccer authorities – a move that would bring the prospect of Premier League games being played in the USA closer.
Relevent Sports attempted to arrange a La Liga game between Girona and Barcelona but the program was scrapped at the face of widespread resistance.
It subsequently attempted to host an Ecuadorian league match in the US about 5 May, but that also was blocked from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), even though Relevent said it had procured a stadium for the fixture and had received written approval by the Ecuador’s league and its national association, in addition to the regional governance body.
In court documents Relevent argues the USSF is currently behaving in an anti-competitive way.
It says the USSF lets the Yearly Super Cup and also the Campeon de Campeones to be played in California.
These matches are organised by a rival game promoter, Soccer United Marketing (SUM). SUM is owned by the Major League Soccer clubs and has exclusive rights to advertise the USA’s men’s and women’s international teams – its close relationship with all the USSF is the subject of legal cases.
No date has been set to be heard.
Relevent also says world governing body Fifa’s stated position that no national league matches must be played in other countries is a view, not a law.
Relevant is adamant its goal is just to host three or two La Liga matches at the US annually, although the firm’s magnetic executive chairman Charlie Stillitano has said he would enjoy the opportunity to market Premier League games.
It has also noticed that US sports the NFL and Major League Baseball, have played regular season games from England over the past 12 months to audiences.
The Premier League has said it does not have any plans to program games outside England. An worldwide round – the so called 39th game – was proposed in 2008 but 2 decades after said the Premier League said it was being contemplated.
The USSF dropped to comment on the current legal action of Relevant but called a statement issued when there was a law suit received in April.
Inside, it stated:»When Relevent requested to sponsor a competitive league match in Miami involving two Ecuadorean clubs, his program went through our review process for international game endorsement, which we conduct on the over a hundred applications we receive annually out of heaps of promoters.
«As part of the review procedure, we achieved to the Ecuadorean Football Federation and also [South American Football Confederation] Conmebol to confirm whether they had been conscious that the proposal involved a competitive league game. As of today, we’ve yet to be given a response.
«At the exact identical time, we also reached out to Fifa and confirmed that the Fifa Council’s October 2018 affirmation stating’the sporting principle that official league matches should be played within the land of the respective member association’.»
Luis Manfredi, the chief executive of this Ecuadorian league, was used to work for the Spanish champions and it’s suggested by some that current La Liga president Javier Tebas, regarded as the driving force behind the plan to host a Spanish league game in the USA, is using relations inside the club to test the recent regulations.
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