Girona confirm talks on US game

La Liga side Girona have confirmed they are in talks about playing this season’s home game against Barcelona in the United States.

A statement from the Catalan club confirmed that they were in discussions with La Liga and Barcelona about the game, which is scheduled for January, and would be the first Spanish top-tier match to be played abroad.

A deal between Spanish football’s top tier and media company Relevent provides for one game per season to be played overseas.

Discussions are also taking place over how to compensate Girona fans for moving the fixture, with speculation centring on Miami as a candidate to host the game.

Catalan newspaper Sport said earlier this week that 1,500 free flights plus overnight accommodation would be available for Girona season-ticket holders, although a refundable deposit would be required.

It said those who did not want to take up the offer would be given a ticket to the away game against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on 23 September, while fans who cannot do either would get a discount on their season ticket.

The Spanish FA and Spanish Footballers’ Union, the AFE, have criticised the plan to move the game, with AFE president David Aganzo refusing to rule out strike action.

However, Girona say that the match represents a chance for expansion and growth.

“Only a few years ago the club was fighting to survive and now our goal is to consolidate our place in the Spanish top flight,” the club said.

Another possible bone of contention could be Catalan nationalism.

Spanish radio station Cadena Cope reported that 40,000 Spanish flags will be handed out to spectators and the national anthems of both the US and Spain will be played before kickoff. It is also said that no Catalan flags or symbols will be allowed inside the stadium.

Such moves are likely to antagonise fans of both clubs, especially pro-independence supporters.