November 04, 2008

FC Barcelona's commitment to set up a sister club in MLS could see it rake in $2.6 million per year, but only if it can successfully strike up a tax exemption deal.

The Spanish club's general director, Joan Olivé, is in the U.S. trying to negotiate a deal to have any potential earnings that the club would make from its participation in an MLS franchise exempted from tax.

Olivé's arguments have not been very successful thus far, but he is convinced that the initiative will be an historic venture that will benefit MLS, soccer in general in America and the club with which Barcelona will eventually be affiliated.

Spanish daily Marca has reported that the MLS outfit, which will not take the name "FC Barcelona," is expected to earn a surplus of $8 million to $9 million per year, of which $2.6 million will go straight to the Catalan giants.

However, the sister club, which will be based in Miami, is expected to profit in the long run from Barça's global image and growing popularity in the U.S. through various sponsorship deals.

As part of the agreement, Barcelona is also expected to assemble two soccer academies that will specifically instil the club's philosophy of the game, while the first team will continue to tour the country as part of its preseason program.

Miami is seen as an ideal set-up due to the large Hispanic presence from different countries, while the stadium in the University of Florida will host the home matches.

Real Madrid signed a 10-year co-operative agreement with MLS side Real Salt Lake in 2006.

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