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Villarreal—Atleti to be played at the Cerámica; RFEF asks for Tebas’s resignation

The judge’s ruling came down today and Villarreal has accepted it.

SOCCER: NOV 04 La Liga - Levante UD at Villarreal CF
Villarreal-Atleti, back home in Vila-real.
Photo by Carlos Sanchez Martinez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The ‘judge number 12 of the commercial court in Madrid’ has today ruled against La Liga, Villarreal and Atletico Madrid in their desire to play a regular-season match in Miami.

The decision was, I believe, expected. There will be a final hearing and judgment in February on the matter—today’s ruling was essentially the judge saying I’m basically granting a stay of playing games overseas until then. Villarreal have officially announced the match will be played at the Ceramica, as usual.

The RFEF, though, has come out swinging. Their press release states that ‘despite attempts to the contrary by the president of the league (Tebas), it is not independent but part of the Spanish FA (RFEF), and its actions must be coordinated with the FA. It then recaps all of Tebas’s “failed lawsuits” in an attempt to “justify his own failures”, showing a “total disregard for the President of La Liga for the rules of FIFA, UEFA and the RFEF”.

The press release concludes by asking for Tebas’s immediate resignation or dismissal. Oh, and threatens clubs who support these sort of things with penalties, too. Just because.

Quite a contrast with La Liga’s press release, which is short and merely says we hope in February things will be decided so we can move forward in the future.

AS FOR THE MATCH, I think we covered some of our concerns pretty well on here—if the league really wants to play one match a year in the US, it would be best if the groundwork were laid well in advance and the league office could roll out some really good promotion for the event. Villarreal-Atleti is an excellent matchup and both teams have compelling stories to tell, but you’re not going to be able to do that if you can’t get the game agreed up on and scheduled well in advance.

If Srs. Rubiales and Tebas would stop acting like toddlers and actually sit down and agree on a plan of action, that would help. Note that at the present time—although there is a lawsuit pending from La Liga’s promoter, Relevent, against US Soccer which could change things—FIFA, UEFA, CONCACAF, and US Soccer— all have some control or say over matches played in the US by non-US club teams.

The current notion that only “meaningless” matches like summer friendlies can be played overseas is being undermined, ironically, by the RFEF itself. They have moved the Spanish Supercopa to Saudi Arabia, changed the format, and stuck it in the mid-winter break. If those matches are “meaningless”, then presumably the RFEF will be okay with all the teams involved sending their reserve team players and scrubs, and leaving their stars at home?