Soccer-La Liga still planning to take matches to U.S., Tebas says

FILE PHOTO: La Liga President Javier Tebas poses before an online interview with Reuters at the La Liga headquarters in Madrid, Spain January 27, 2021. REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - La Liga's plans to stage a game in the United States are alive and kicking, according to president Javier Tebas who all but ruled out taking the showpiece El Clasico match out of Spain.

La Liga has twice failed to take a regular season match Stateside with FIFA, world football's governing body, and the Spanish FA (RFEF) voicing their opposition to the plans.

Speaking at an event to mark La Liga's new television rights deal in North America with ESPN, Tebas said on Friday that La Liga's plans have not changed, although they would leave Real Madrid's meetings with Barcelona on home soil.

"El Clasico is a more difficult game to export because it's the most important club game in the world, it's different," Tebas said. "But we might take other official games, we're certainly looking at that.

"I hope and expect that in the not too distant future the U.S. should host a competitive game with some of our biggest clubs. When we achieve it, maybe it can be Barcelona one year, Real Madrid the next or Atletico. They will be there.

"We've tried to do it and we'll continue to try. After this (ESPN) deal, our fans in the U.S. deserve a top-level game over there."

La Liga signed a 15-year agreement with entertainment company Relevent Sports in 2018, designed to promote the sport and La Liga in North America.

The agreement included the commitment to host one La Liga regular season match per campaign in the U.S.

(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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