Barcelona and Girona are reportedly set to be the first teams from La Liga to play an official match on US soil. As per Spanish media reports, Barcelona will take on Girona in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium on January 27 next year, which will be considered as an away venue for the 2014-15 Champions League winners. “We are all off to Miami,” read the front cover of Catalan sports daily L’Esportiu on Tuesday. The report also mentioned that Girona fans will be reimbursed ticket costs for the clash, which was previously being held at the Estadio Montilivi, home venue for Girona.
Another media report cited that Girona will make 1,500 free flights available to season ticket holders and the trip would cost them 500 Euros, which will be refunded after the match. Fans who decline to travel to the US will get a 20 percent discount on their season ticket. 5000 free tickets will also be distributed among the fans during the first Catalan derby of the season at Camp Nou on September 23. Girona are now owned by the City Football Group – who own Manchester City.
Earlier, a huge debate sparked when La Liga announced that it had penned down a 15-year agreement with media group Relevent to play at least one league match in the US. It created an uproar among the Spanish players’ union (AFE), who raised objections to the decision. Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde was equally disgruntled at the turn of events.
A report in the Bleacher Report quoted Valverde as saying, “It sounds strange to me to play a domestic league game abroad. But by the same token, it also sounded weird to play the Spanish Super Cup abroad and we did that. …Maybe some day the Moroccan Super Cup will be in Spain, but that will still be strange.That being said, football has already crossed borders as a sport, becoming something else…we will see what happens, because as for now this is just an idea.”