FIFA claims it will consider altering a policy that blocks league games from happening in other countries. The potential landmark decision was delivered Monday evening after the governing body came to an agreement with Relevent Sports Group. The soccer promoters previously included FIFA in a lawsuit directed at altering the policy. This agreement, however, means that Relevent must dismiss FIFA from its ongoing court case.

Relevent announced plans back in the summer of 2018 to host a LaLiga fixture in Florida. The group selected Miami because Relevent’s co-founder, Stephen Ross, owns the Miami Dolphins of the NFL.

The matchup was going to consist of Barcelona and Girona. Organizers scheduled the game for early 2019. FIFA, however, stepped in and quickly put the kibosh on the plans. As a result, Relevent targeted FIFA, as well as US Soccer, in the aforementioned lawsuit.

Revelent responsible for bringing major summer friendlies to the US

Nevertheless, lawyers for the promoters submitted paperwork to the New York court on Monday that revealed that an agreement with FIFA has been struck. “FIFA and Relevent Sports have agreed to resolve this matter specific to FIFA while FIFA considers changes to its existing rules about whether games can be played outside of a league’s home territory,” the company said in a public statement regarding the matter.

“Relevent Sports looks forward to supporting FIFA as both sides work to grow the game.”

The news does not exactly, however, mean that top European games are coming to the United States just yet. FIFA has agreed to work with Relevent in their hopes of bringing these matches Stateside. The promoters have already organized many summer friendlies involving major European sides here in North America. They previously established the International Champions Cup back in 2013.

While the annual competition ended due to COVID-19, they have still helped bring European soccer, albeit exhibition only, to the States. Relevent launched a platform to bring friendlies involving four La Liga teams to the United States and Mexico last year. That included Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Real Betis and Real Sociedad playing in the United States in the summer of 2023.

US Soccer is aware of how Relevent can change La Liga and Premier League

Although an agreement is in place with FIFA, Relevent’s lawsuit against US Soccer has not changed. The governing body of the sport in the United States has regularly attempted to block Relevent’s plan to schedule foreign games in America. The organization previously refused to sanction an Ecuadorian LigaPro matchup here in the United States

Nevertheless, the deal between FIFA and US Soccer could be a clue that meaningful foreign matches will eventually come to the States. If so, domestic leagues such as Major League Soccer (MLS) and the United Soccer League (USL) could very well take a hit.

There is no doubting the pull that major European clubs currently have across the globe, including in America. A recent report rated the 100 most popular soccer teams on American television in 2023. The highest MLS side in the list, Inter Miami, only managed to grab the 39th spot. Meanwhile, 18 English clubs ranked higher than Lionel Messi’s team.

US Soccer is certainly quite aware of the popularity of European soccer clubs. The organization maintains its stance in blocking Relevent’s plans. This comes down to the impending dip in MLS and USL interest with European leagues playing meaningful games.

How much of a hit domestic leagues will take depends on the extent of scheduling. Holding just a few European top-flight fixtures annually in the US will likely not affect divisions such as the MLS too much. However, a larger scale of these massive matches could very well put a significant dent in the potential interest of domestic leagues.