The players are not on board with La Liga's plan to stage a regular season match in the United States.

By 90Min
August 22, 2018

Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi is poised to lead the club captains of Spain's top flight in a battle to stop La Liga's plan to play a regular season match in North America.

Last week officials from the Spanish Professional Football League (LFP) announced that, as part of a 15-year partnership with sports and entertainment group Relevent (which also operates the International Champions Cup), a league match would be played overseas in either Canada or the U.S.

While Relevent has designs on promoting football across the pond, and La Liga clearly want to indulge their new partners, Messi and his colleagues aren't convinced and will visit the headquarters of the Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) this Wednesday to oppose the move, according to AS.

The players - who include Real captain Sergio Ramos and Atletico skipper Diego Godin - will be joined by AFE president David Aganzo in a joint effort to express their opposition to LFP president Javier Tebas on the proposal to play matches abroad, as well as the fact that La Liga and Relevant agreed on the plan without consulting the AFE or the Spanish Football Federation.

The United States has hosted multiple preseason games between major European clubs for several years, with those clubs keen to tap into the massive fanbase there and drive up revenue. However, the idea of hosting a regular season match, and what it would mean for fans living in Spain who want to watch their team play, has clearly struck a nerve with Messi and company.

During Wednesday's meeting the AFE will also bring up the issue of late kick-off times imposed on Primera clubs, as well as staging games on Friday and Monday. 

On Sunday, for example, Real Madrid kicked off their match against Getafe at 10:15pm local, and the final whistle was blown just after midnight - and some players (like Toni Kroos) may have been feeling the fatigue. 

Clearly the new developments in La Liga could have a huge impact for fans and player alike - hence the AFE's move to open discussions with league officials on Wednesday.

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