Crossing the Pond?

I think that one day Chelsea will play a competitive match in the USA. The genie is out of the bottle.

The prospect of a regular Spanish league fixture being held in America took a giant leap forward this week, when La Liga asked the Spanish Football Federation for permission to relocate the game between Barcelona and Girona to Florida.

It’s a momentous step. A regular season match worth three points to the winner - three points that could decide the title or tip the relegation battle - and it is set to take place on a different continent thousands of miles away.

It’s not a done deal and at least four governing bodies have to sign off on the plan. That’s before we even consider whether the players agree to do it. However, I suspect permission would not have been applied for if those involved were not confident it would be approved.

Even if you hate the idea, you have to admit that they are trying to make it attractive to the affected fans. It’s a generous compensation package for the Girona supporters who are sacrificing a home game.

Season ticket holders have been offered 1,500 free flights to Miami, available to use as a long weekend or they can return straight back after the fixture, a journey amounting to the longest away day in football history.

If they don’t fancy the transatlantic trek, there are 5,000 free tickets on offer for the reverse fixture at the Camp Nou and a 20 per cent discount on their season ticket. Fail to take up either of those enticements and your season ticket is slashed by 40 per cent.

The scale of the inducements on offer belies how much money is at stake further down the line.

Spain, the nation who have produced the Champions League winners for five years running, want to muscle in on the global football market dominated by the English Premier League. Last year they staged El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona on a Saturday lunchtime for the first time ever, just to target the Asian audience. This is the next level.

They have crossed the Rubicon first, but if it’s a success I bet other countries will follow. And maybe one day, the Blues will be playing the most English of games right here in the States.

By Stephen Rea, Blogger from America.