MADRID: The Spanish league is planning to play regular season matches in the United States in its aggressive campaign to challenge the international popularity of the English Premier League.

Reports in Spain and in The Financial Times have indicted that the project could even be launched later in the 2018-19 season which begins this coming weekend.

Ambitious LaLiga president Javier Tebas

LaLiga North America, a 15-year joint venture partnership, has been set up with a 50-50 split between LaLiga and Relevent Sports, the United States promotions company chaired by Charlie Stillitano and backed by Stephen Ross, the billionaire owner of Miami Dolphins of the National [American] Football League.

No decisions have yet been made about which clubs will play in the US, which cities will host games, or how many matches will be held.

The Spanish league is thus daring to venture where the Premier League has proved reluctant to go despite discussions 10 years ago about a “39th game.”

Supporter concerns

One of the major stumbling blocks for English clubs was concern that foreign fans – whether in the US or Asia – would want to see the top teams and that would upset domestic supporters of both the clubs themselves and also their opponents.

Javier Tebas, the president of LaLiga, floated the concept several years ago and has negotiated with a number of promotional corporations both in north America and Asia.

Five years ago Relevent created the International Champions Cup which sought to tie together the fragmented pre-season tours to the US of leading European clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona, Manchester’s City and United, and Italy’s Juventus and Milan.

Tebas said: “We are committed to fostering a passion for football throughout the world and this revolutionary agreement will undoubtedly give a fundamental boost to the popularity of our beautiful sport in the United States and Canada.

“Relevent has filled stadiums throughout United States with the International Champions Cup and we are delighted to collaborate with them in this joint mission to promote football in North America. ”