The Debate Over Premier League Games Abroad

The Premier League chief executive, Richard Masters, recently stated that there are currently no plans to take games to the United States. However, he did hint that this could change in the future depending on the outcome of a lawsuit in Manhattan. The lawsuit, filed by U.S. promoter Relevent Sports against FIFA and the U.S. Soccer Federation, has caused FIFA to rethink its policy of prohibiting domestic league games from being played on the territory of another member federation.

If the Premier League were to organize games abroad, it could open up opportunities for European leagues and clubs, particularly those in England and Spain, to receive offers from countries like the United States and Saudi Arabia. Although Masters emphasized that this is not part of the current plans for the league, he acknowledged that the uncertainty surrounding the court case has left the possibility open for matches to be played abroad.

The managing director of the European Leagues group, Jacco Swart, made it clear that taking games abroad is not currently on the agenda. While he did not rule out the idea entirely, he stressed that it is not a priority for the group at the moment. Swart pointed out that U.S. sports leagues often schedule games in European cities like London, highlighting the international nature of sports today.

In contrast to the Premier League’s cautious approach, LaLiga president Javier Tebas expressed optimism about the prospect of playing official games in the United States. Tebas sees this as a way to strengthen LaLiga’s position in the North American market, which is the second-largest market for the league after Spain. He even mentioned a potential timeline for when these games could take place, suggesting that it could happen as soon as the 2025-26 season.

FIFA’s stance on playing league games abroad has evolved over the years. While they blocked a plan by LaLiga to hold a game in Miami back in 2018, the policy is now less clear. Richard Masters expressed frustration over the lack of communication between Europe’s leagues and FIFA, contrasting it with UEFA’s more collaborative approach. With FIFA’s upcoming Club World Cup set to take place in the United States next year, the debate over playing games abroad has only intensified.

The debate over whether Premier League games should be played abroad, particularly in the United States, continues to divide opinions within the football community. While some see it as an opportunity to expand the reach of European leagues and clubs, others are concerned about the potential impact on player workload and the widening wealth gaps among clubs. As the discussion unfolds, it remains to be seen whether the Premier League will eventually make a move towards organizing games outside of the UK.


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