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U.S. Soccer Statements about USA vs. Catalonia scheduled for Oct. 14

The United States Men’s National Team is scheduled to play Catalonia on Oct. 14 at the Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain. Following the initial decision of the Spanish Federation not to sanction the match, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati responded to questions about the status of the match.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati

“There have been a lot of questions raised about the game against Catalonia. We have a signed agreement with the Catalonia Federation to play the match. As is the case with all of our contracts that don’t deal directly with a member of FIFA, there is a clause in it that the match must be approved by the national association (FIFA member), which in this case is the Spanish Federation.”

“To date, the Spanish Federation hasn’t approved it. We are waiting to see if they will approve it. [U.S. Soccer Secretary General] Dan (Flynn) met today with the president of the Catalonia Federation. They want to play the game and we would like to play the game, but we certainly won’t play the game unless the Spanish Federation approves it. We will make a decision by the end of this week, and that decision will be based strictly on whether they have approved it. If they approve it, we’ll play. If they haven’t approved it, we won’t play. So, it’s actually quite simple.”

On the possibility of a substitute game:
Yes, there is a possibility. It is a fixture date and we’d like to play on that date. The last time this situation arose was U.S. against Mexico, and we obviously were able to get Brazil as a substitute. We would certainly try to play a second game in Europe, which is not easy on such short notice.”

On other potential opponents:
“I think it’s safe to say that we won’t wait until the end of the week to start investigating the possibility of playing against another team. Our first priority is to make the Catalonia game happen. We think that playing against Catalonia in the Nou Camp would draw a lot of people. It would be a great game and a great atmosphere for our players and it was a date that we set in conjunction with our match against Switzerland.”

On whether the Spanish Federation opposes the game:
“They made a decision to vote the game down two weeks ago, but we’re waiting for them to reconsider. The Catalonian Federation said they are looking at the match again, but it’s not all straightforward.”

On how the Catalonia match was originally scheduled:
“They have actually talked to us a few times in the past about a Christmas or New Year’s date, which is traditionally when they play. They’ve played against Brazil and Argentina in the past few years. We’ve looked at it quite a bit and we generally don’t play in that late December period. This time they approached us with a different date, on a fixture date when we wanted to play in Europe. It was a natural fit.”

On why the Spanish Federation opposes the match:
We don’t know. We just asked for them to give us an official notice, which they hadn’t done yet. All we’ve seen so far is what we’ve read in press reports.”

On whether he will meet with the Spanish Federation:
“I don’t think it’s our place. It would be the member federation who would do that. We know the Spanish Federation quite well, but I think at this point it’s their decision to make, not ours.”