MADRID: Spanish league and club leaders are to launch a worldwide tournament to promote the country and its football internationally and make the most of the global of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The financial agreement between the clubs is assumed to be part of negotiations towards a centralised system for TV rights within Spain: the two giants would make up a domestic fall in income through the lion’s share of revenue from the proposed LFP World Challenge.
The plan would see exhibition games played in Europe, North and South America and Asia and feature clubs from other nations.
League president Javier Tebas said that the idea was to leverage the appeal of Real Madrid and Barcelona and advertise both the Spanish game and improve the country’s overall image overseas.
He added: “The objective is to generate confidence and value in the Spanish brand and football can play a part in this. La Liga puts Spain’s brand on a global level. For example, El Clasico, which has 400m spectators. All our clubs are going to unite with this global experience, so that Spain’s brand can keep growing.”
Games would be played over three years — with first phase of games [to be called “Time of Challenge”] to be held in summer 2014 — either at the end of the regular club season, or during pre-season for the 2014-15 campaign.
Summer 2015 will see more games [the “Challenger Select Series”] in which non-Spanish teams will also be invited to play. The Spanish team with best results over these games will play in a final during summer 2016 against the club that has won the most La Liga titles in the previous three seasons.
Tebas said games would be hosted in cities all over the world, with the aim of promoting both Spain and Spanish football.
“We will travel to Houston, New York, Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Malaysia, Turkey…,” he said. “There is no financial value if we do not go out around the world.”
Tebas said he had been given “a commitment” that Madrid and Barca would take part.
“We would have to fit with how their preseasons are, but we have a commitment from them,” he said.
Sports Minister Miguel Cardenal explained how the games were a chance for Spanish clubs – which currently owe €650m in back taxes – to do something positive for the currently troubled Spanish economy.
He said: “Spanish football generates recognition and admiration all over the world,” Cardenal said. “The LFP, like the rest of Spanish sport, is giving a lesson in how to help the economic recovery of our country.
“There will be a football match and Spanish Experience, a business event that will accompany the football, and it will serve to help Spanish businesses grow. Seminars. Congresses. I think that Spanish football owes Spanish society.”