A new four-team format has been finalised for the Supercopa de Espana that will see the competition moved to Saudi Arabia for the next three years, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed.
RFEF president Luis Rubiales revealed a proposal to convert the season curtain-raiser into a mini-tournament in February this year.
Last season’s Supercopa – traditionally a two-legged affair played between the winner of LaLiga and the Copa del Rey – was the first to be played abroad, as Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-1 in Tangier, Morocco, with the singular match officially classed as a friendly.
But the success of the contest from the RFEF’s perspective proved its viability and it is pushing ahead with the plans having struck an agreement for Saudi Arabia to play host over the next three years, starting in February 2020.
With four teams – the Copa finalists and LaLiga’s top two – set to be involved, the RFEF has moved the competition to Spain’s winter in order to «lighten the calendar», instead of playing it at the start of the season.
Following confirmation of the revamp on Monday, the RFEF also revealed the historic first fixtures, with Real Madrid and Barcelona facing Valencia and Atletico Madrid, respectively, in the semi-finals, teeing up a potential Clasico finale on February 12.
Copa del Rey holder Valencia was particularly vocal in its opposition of the initial plans put forward by the RFEF, while many criticised the governing body for fraternising with a country that has a questionable human rights record.
But the RFEF has called the deal an «engine for social change» and confirmed women will be allowed «unrestricted access to the matches» and the launch of a women’s football competition in the region.
RFEF believes the internationalisation of the competition will improve its credibility and subsequently boost Spain’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
Media reports have claimed the RFEF stands to bring in €40million for every season the Supercopa is hosted in Saudi Arabia. Aside from club prize money, the federation pledges to invest all its entire income from the agreement in amateur football.
More information: SPORTSTAR.