Since last September, La Liga and its business partner Relevent have been working on a unilateral plan to play competitive games in the USA.
Facing significant opposition from impacted parties and football institutions, the joint venture recently launched a petition claiming to represent the views of the Northern American football fans and the greater interests of the Beautiful Game in the USA.
The Executive Committee of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), recently gathered in Berlin (Germany), expressed its deepest concerns at the repeated attempts to play regular competitive games of the Spanish League outside of the Royal Spanish Football Federation’s jurisdiction of the joint venture, which claims to represent the view of the Northern American football fans. Supporters’ representative bodies from Spain (Federacion de Accionistas y Socios del Futbol Español – FASFE) and USA & Canada (Independent Supporters’ Council – ISC) are joining this call.
The #BringUSTheGame campaign, launched on 1 November 2018 by La Liga and Relevent, alleges that the organisation of competitive Spanish League games in Miami would not only serve the development of football in the USA, but also respond to a demand for the football fans. Under the motto “We, the fans, need to fight for this match”, it mimics fan activism with the sole purpose of generating financial profits.
La Liga and Relevent pretends to be running a grassroots campaign fighting against “key decision makers” hostile to the development of football in the US. In fact, the vast majority of stakeholders, impacted parties and regulatory bodies are opposed to the proposal to play competitive games abroad. Among others, FIFA, UEFA, the Royal Spanish Football Federation, players’ unions and independent supporters organisations have strongly criticised the plan.
This petition is nothing but a PR exercise. It has not been endorsed by any representative body and is based on a highly questionable methodology. It lacks transparency, is only accessible from Northern America and is not certified by any recognised platform.
We, as democratic and representative supporters’ organisations, condemn this grotesque attempt to manipulate public opinion and back-channel the very same supporters’ organisations that La Liga repeatedly refused to consult. Supporters and their representative bodies are the only ones able to determine what is good for them and what they consider as good for the game.
Playing competitive games outside the territory of the respective football association would represent a further stage in undermining national competitions. It would also be a sign of contempt for season ticket holders and the traveling fans of the clubs affected. A football club belongs to its local community, history and culture. It cannot be taken away from where it belongs.
The idea of playing competitive games abroad is not new. We have already seen similar attempts in other European countries, like in England where plans to play an additional Premier League game abroad was met with uproar by fans and the wider public. In Italy and in Spain, the relocation of the Supercup finals abroad was also firmly rejected by supporters. Competitive matches must be played within the territory of the respective football association, with no exceptions.
What would be much more likely to be “good for the game” in North America would be to actively support the clubs and fan groups in the MLS, USL and all other North-American football leagues. There are a vast number of clubs in North America and a thriving fan culture, which deserve to be highlighted. The growing number of dedicated fans and fan groups devoted to North American football deserve better than to have a random European game thrown at them.
FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS EUROPE – FSE (Europe)
FSE is an independent, representative and democratically organised network of European football fans active in the whole UEFA region and with members in over 40 countries across the continent. FSE organises and support campaigns on all topics relevant to fans, provides advice and support to supporters’ organisations, liaises with institutions and governing bodies to represent the fans’ perspective in decision-making processes
INDEPENDENT SUPPORTERS COUNCIL – ISC (USA)
With over 50 member groups, the ISC provides a place for organised supporters’ groups for American and Canadian soccer teams to share information and work together to solve common problems. The ISC promotes supporters’ culture and advocates for fair treatment of supporters, both at home and on the road.
FEDERACION DE ACCIONISTAS Y SOCIOS DEL FUTBOL ESPAÑOL – FASFE (SPAIN)
FASFE is a Spanish democratic and independent supporters’ organisation which brings together 28 associations of supporters, socios and minority shareholders of football clubs, as well as fan-owned clubs. FASFE’s goal is to help fans playing a leading and responsible role in the life of their football clubs. FASFE is a member of FSE.