LaLiga president Javier Tebas hopes the top Spanish soccer league can stage a regular-season fixture in the US as soon as the 2025-26 season with global governing body FIFA reportedly set to change its rules on overseas games.

Earlier this month, FIFA settled an antitrust lawsuit with sports promoter Relevent Sports, which had accused it of illegally banning foreign teams and leagues from playing official matches in the US.

The settlement came more than a year after the federal appeals court in Manhattan, New York, revived Relevent's case, which a trial judge had originally dismissed in 2021. The US Soccer Federation remains a defendant.

A Relevent statement claimed FIFA is set to consider changes to its rules about whether games can be played outside a league's home territory, with teams regularly playing friendly matches in the US, including previously through Relevant’s International Champions Cup friendly tournament.

Multiple top-tier European sides appear in pre-season tournaments in the US to connect with audiences in the market. 

Notably, Barcelona and Real Madrid faced off in a friendly at the AT&T Stadium in Texas last July as part of the Soccer Champions Tour. They will meet again on August 3 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey before the 2024-25 season.

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Following this development, Tebas believes the door has now been opened to take LaLiga matches to the US.

Tebas has told Spanish newspaper Expansión: “I don't know when, but this time LaLiga will play official games abroad. I think it could be from the 2025-26 season.

“An official game in the US would strengthen our position in the North American market, which is the second [biggest] for LaLiga after Spain.

“Other really competitive leagues are coming, so we can't always do the same thing. They would jump ahead of us.”

FIFA announced its foreign match policy in October 2018 after Relevent attempted to arrange with LaLiga to host a regular season match between Barcelona and Girona in Miami, Florida.

Barcelona eventually had to withdraw from the agreement, and Relevant, controlled by the NFL’s Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, subsequently sued US Soccer in September 2019 after it stopped a match in Miami between two Ecuadorean teams, with FIFA added as a defendant in the case a year later.

US Soccer and FIFA fear that US stadiums hosting regular season matches between foreign teams would have the potential to draw away fans and sponsors from the US’ own Major League Soccer domestic club competition.

This comes in the lead-up to the US, Canada, and Mexico co-hosting the men’s World Cup in 2026.

As well as FIFA, LaLiga’s attempts to stage a regular season match in the US have also been blocked by the RFEF, the Spanish federation.

But Tebas has accused the RFEF of double standards as it has taken the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia in recent years.

Incidentally, Spanish police last month raided the RFEF offices and the home of its controversial former president Luis Rubiales as part of an investigation into the deal to take the Spanish Super Cup to the kingdom.

Rubiales, who is accused of receiving illegal commissions during the process of negotiating the deal with the Saudis, was later arrested and released.

LaLiga created its LaLiga North America arm in 2018 as part of a 15-year joint venture with Relevent.

Based in New York, LaLiga North America is headed up by chief executive Boris Gartner, and the board of directors also comprises Tebas, Ross, and Relevent chief executive Daniel Sillman.

The joint venture comprises a team of more than 25 people, including a commercial and business development unit, and a development and production content team, LaLiga North America Studios, based in Guadalajara, Mexico.