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Barcelona Manager Calls La Liga matches In U.S. Strange

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says La Liga’s plan to take one fixture per season to the United States or Canada strikes him as “strange.”

La Liga announced on Thursday that an agreement with Relevant, the organisers of the International Champions Cup, would see one game played in North America each year to promote the game in the continent.

However, the plans have been met with a mixed response, with the Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) among those complaining that the deal was struck without the necessary consultation.

“Initially, it seems a bit strange to play a league game abroad,” Valverde told a news conference on Friday. “But that was also the case with the Spanish Super Cup, which we played [against Sevilla] in Morocco last weekend, so I don’t know. I suppose that if it was reversed, and the Moroccan Super Cup was played here, it would seem strange, too.

“The world of football keeps on changing, but we will have to see if [playing a game in North America] ends up being anything more than an intention. Going through with something is very different from [announcing] an intention.”

There’s also confusion as to how legally binding La Liga’s agreement is to play a game outside of for the first time.

FIFA regulations say any decision would have to be approved by the country’s national association, which means the Royal Spanish Football Federation [RFEF] and not La Liga.