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Fifa to explore impact of moving domestic matches abroad

By BBC
Football News GETTY IMAGESImage caption: Gianni Infantino was voted Fifa president in 2016
WED, 15 MAY 2024 LISTEN
GETTY IMAGES Image caption: Gianni Infantino was voted Fifa president in 2016

Football's world governing body Fifa is to set to establish a working group to look at the impact of playing competitive domestic matches overseas.

A legal settlement agreed between Fifa and match promoter Relevant Sports in the USA has, in the words of Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, "left the door ajar" for league games to be played in different countries.

Whilst the Premier League say they have no plans to do so, despite being the instigators of the infamous ‘39th game’ idea during Richard Scudamore’s time at the helm, La Liga are already planning overseas games for the 2025-26 campaign.

La Liga have revived their plans to play league fixtures overseas after cancelling Barcelona's league match against Girona in 2019, which was due to be held in Miami.

Fifa had previously been opposed to the idea, feeling it had the potential to take valuable finance away from domestic clubs.

But the matter was discussed at its Council meeting in Bangkok on Wednesday when it was agreed to set up a working group to ‘gather further information and issue recommendations’ and to also look at the impact on host countries.

Before making any decision, Fifa want to address issues such as the amount of notice over the scheduling of matches, the impact on the balance of sporting competition and the effect on the development of football in the host countries.

The Council said any proposal must take various factors into account, including "whether adequate provision has been made for fans of the teams playing a proposed out-of-territory match to attend the match in the host country".

Relevant Sports had driven the idea of overseas matches being played in the United States, having launched the pre-season International Champions Cup. They also tried to host an Ecuador League game in the United States in 2019, but that was blocked by Fifa.

Last summer they promoted the six-team Premier League summer series that featured Chelsea, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Brighton, Fulham and Brentford.

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