CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE at the DEAD SEA: The Premier League may have quashed the idea – for now- of playing a 38th or 39th game abroad, but it is close to becoming a reality in Serie A and La Liga, according to two club executives.
Japp Kalma, commercial director at AC Milan and Malaga vice-president Moayad Shatat both expressed their support for their clubs to play a regular league game abroad at the Soccerex Convention in Jordan on Sunday.
Kalma said that Serie A was already talking about the possibility having already tested the method in one of Italy’s cup competitions.
“It’s one of the things we’re discussing, yes,” said Kalma. “I see it happening. What we have been doing in the past already with the Super Coppa, so that’s the winner of the Coppa Italia plays against the winner of the national league, and that was in Qatar. Also in the past we’ve done that abroad.
“But that’s a relatively easy match because that’s not a match that is part of a competition. One of the other things in Serie A we are studying having a season opener or another emblematic match during the season which is played abroad.”
The proposition is new to the world of football but such a model exists in the NBA and the NFL with both leagues featuring overseas encounters in their respective seasons.
Alongside Kalma on the panel, Shatat agreed that such a proposition would help further the growth of their leagues and clubs and explained how La Liga in particular were examining other dimensions of opening up to international fans.
“Nothing can beat the experience of a live event,” he said. “We can push it through different channels like social media, but nothing can beat the live experience. That [games abroad] will hopefully happen with regular season matches.
“That is why in La Liga we created this new tournament that started last year; the La Liga World Challenge where the clubs are travelling abroad and playing friendly matches and tournaments in order for the fans to experience La Liga live.
Shatat added: “We believe the experience of a live event is unbeatable and we want to bring that experience closer to the fans and then taking it from there, nothing can beat the passion and excitement of watching a La Liga match live.”
The Premier League faced staunch criticism when it raised the possibility of playing a regular season match abroad.
# # # # # #