FC Barcelona has revealed it will travel to Australia for the first time in its history to play a friendly match next month – and although some have praised the news, others have torched it.
The European football giant announced it would square off with an A-League Men’s All Stars team at Sydney’s Stadium Australia on May 25.
That means it’ll be held three days before the A-League Men’s grand final – and the timing of the fixture has left many people bemused.
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The issues, according to those who are irked, are that many of the A-League’s best players won’t be available and that Barcelona’s presence will detract from the hype around the grand final.
“Not sure if this is out there but A-League All Stars (minus players in grand final) to play Barcelona in grand final week at Accor Stadium! Madness,” wrote former sports journalist Ray Gatt on Twitter.
“Don’t know what possesses people to allow this. The game will detract from the grand final, which should always be given clean air. Now we will have days of hype about Barcelona.”
Sports journalist Phillip Rollo also took exception.
“The dumbest thing about the timing of the All Stars game is that the best players – the actual stars of the A-League Men – won’t be available,” Rollo tweeted.
SBS presenter Adrian Arciuli expressed an opposing view.
“… think it provides a great platform to help promote the grand final,” Arciuli wrote on Twitter.
“If it was a club I would understand, but it will be an All Stars team, so great chance to help push the main game. Great timing.”
FC Barcelona vice-president Juli Guiu touted the match as an opportunity for the club to connect with its Australia-based fans.
“We are very happy to be able to announce this match in Australia today against the A-League All Stars,” Guiu said.
“This will be the first time the team visits this country, where Barca are generating great interest.
“Being able to play this match will give us the opportunity to bring the club and its values closer to our fans and will also give us the opportunity for new audiences to get to know FC Barcelona and all that it represents, which has made it a reference entity on and off the pitch.”
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