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Barcelona President Continues To Talk Up Overseas Matches

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Barcelona want three La Liga matches to be played outside Spain every season, as they endeavour to gain an advantage over the Premier League.

Club president Josep Bartomeu told Sportsmail:

‘I want there to be three games — one in the US, one in the Middle East, and one in Asia — every season to promote La Liga.

‘It doesn’t have to be Barca. It could be Atletico Madrid, Sevilla or Real Madrid. Because we have to promote in these markets.’

Barcelona tried to take one of their games outside Spain this year, but a fixture against Girona planned for Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium in January was blocked.

‘The LFP [Spanish league] competes with the Premier League. That’s our biggest rival. It’s the same for Barca,’ he said.

‘That’s why we have to try to do things that will help us to compete with the Premier League. It’s a commercial move. I really don’t see the problem with it.’

The Spanish Football Federation are considering taking their revamped Super Cup, now a four-team tournament to be played in January, abroad. Saudi Arabia was suggested as a venue last week.

Asked if football had a responsibility beyond taking its top teams to the highest bidding venues, Bartomeu said:

‘It’s about respect for the fans that we have all over the world.’

Pushed on whether regimes accused of human rights abuses, such as Saudi Arabia, benefit more from hosting matches than the football supporters in that country, Bartomeu said:

‘Barcelona can’t ever be accused of having done anything that goes against our values.

‘Five years ago, we did the Peace Tour between Israel and Palestine.

‘As a club we always try to go beyond sport, to become involved in social issues, events with our foundation, which works with kids all over the world, and we have lots of projects in Saudi Arabia.’