L’Esportiu de Catalunya: Barcelona and Girona to play first LaLiga North America match in Miami in January 2019

According to L’Esportiu de Catalunya, a prominent sports newspaper based in Spain’s Catalonia region, Barcelona and Girona will contest the first LaLiga North America match at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on the weekend of Jan. 26 and 27.

While the plans have not yet confirmed by the clubs or the league, both Barcelona and Girona are based in Catalonia.

According to L’Esportiu, the proposal is a sweeping measure meant to create a big splash and placate a number of people who might not approve of the move, mainly supporters of the clubs.

The game will substitute the match intended to be played at Girona’s home ground, Estadi Montilivi. In exchange, the club is offering to send up to 5,000 supporters to Hard Rock Stadium free of charge, including tickets and round-trip flight. The downside: The intention is for the travelers to fly across the Atlantic, watch the game, then immediately return to Spain.

While nothing has been set in stone formally, this development indicates how seriously LaLiga wants to make this idea of transatlantic games work. The outlay of hundreds of thousands of dollars to move fans over an ocean shows what kind of reward the league believes there may be in this series of games.

All of this still requires the approval of FIFA. According to an interview with Brian Straus of Sports Illustrated last week, FIFA president Gianni Infantino still isn’t totally sold on the idea.

“I think I would prefer much more a great MLS game in the U.S. rather than La Liga being in the U.S,” Infantino told Straus.

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