Dan Burke

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has a very controversial idea

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu believes LaLiga should play not one, not two, but THREE matches outside Spain each season.

There had been plans for Barça to play Girona in Miami last month but the idea was eventually shelved following strong opposition from the Spanish FA, the players’ union and many supporters.

But Blaugrana chief Bartomeu – whose Camp Nou presidency has just two years left to run – believes it is a step worth taking for the good of Spanish football.

“If we want LaLiga to be strong, we are to play in these games,” Bartomeu told BBC Sport.

“At Barça we have sometimes been talking to La Liga and have been telling them that if you want to promote La Liga more and more, then we should have three games of the year outside – one in America, one in the Middle East and one in Asia.

“We have to go and be closer to the fans. We do the summer tours in July and August to go closer to the fans. It is us showing respect to them, going to Miami would have been respect to our fans in the USA.”

La Liga signed a 15-year deal with media company Relevant last year and it was agreed at the time that one Spanish top flight fixture a season would be played in the United States.

And according to the league’s chief communications officer Joris Evers, the idea to take Spanish football Stateside is still very much on the agenda.

“Of course, we strongly support any club’s international ambitions as we certainly share the vision of bringing La Liga action closer to fans everywhere and making La Liga a stronger international brand,” Evers told BBC Sport.

“We continue to work towards playing a La Liga match outside of Spain and want to do that as soon as possible. We are working with all stakeholders to make it happen.

“We see this as a logical next step in the growth of our league and as a clear benefit to everyone involved.”