The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) decided to change the format of the Spanish Supercup and the draw was celebrated this week. Real Madrid got a ticket to the tournament and will face Valencia CF, Copa del Rey champion, in the first semifinal on the 8th of January. Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid will play the other semifinal on the 9th of January. The final will be held on Sunday 12th of January.
The new format of the Spanish Supercup has raised many criticism. First of all, the tournament will be held in Saudi Arabia, a country where the women rights are not secured and where the weather conditions will be hard. Second, the dates are very unusual. After the Christmas period and not in summer, as usual. And now there are four team involved, not only La Liga and Copa del Rey champions, so there are two games for the fans.
Real Madrid were invited to the tournament as semifinalist of Copa del Rey and third in La Liga, whereas Atletico de Madrid are in the new tournament for finishing second in La Liga. With this decision, the Federation secure the best four teams in Spain in this competition and try to get more money holding the tournament in the Middle East, where there are many fans of La Liga.
The new format means also that we will see three interesting games in the middle of the season. Before, we had only two games (the Spanish Supercup was held in two legs) or one game (recently they changed also the format) between the two domestic champions in summer, with the teams not ready yet for high competitions. Changing the dates and the format the Federation is looking for a more interesting tournament.
Another controversy is the election of Saudi Arabia as the location. Last year the tournament was held in Tanger (Morocco) and many supporters also complained. Now it’s pretty clear that almost no one will travel to Spain, but it will be exclusive for Saudi fans. Besides, the country doesn’t allow women to attend to the stadiums, but the Federation has already declared that they will have full access to the event.
The main reason of this change of location, dates and format is money, of course. Real Madrid and Barcelona will receive around €9M for TV rights, whereas Valencia CF will get less than €3M. Of course, the Valencian club has criticised this decision.